On Monday morning the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that head coach Tyronn Lue would be taking a leave of absence to deal with health issues. Lue left Cleveland’s game Saturday night because of illness, marking a third time this season he has been unable to finish a game.
This has sparked a conversation about coaches’ health as Lue is the latest to step away for health complications. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been forced to take a leave of absence on different occasions, including during last year’s playoffs, and Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford missed 21 games this season dealing with sleep deprivation.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has been fortunate enough not to have dealt with anything like this as of yet, but he did give his thoughts on the stresses that come along with the profession, along expressing his concerns for Lue, via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
“It’s a stressful job,” Walton said Monday. “… You don’t get a lot of sleep, you travel a lot and you’re stressed all day long. It’s important that coaches take time to also take care of themselves as far as health … whether that’s workouts, meditate, whatever it is … because the life of travel and everything else that goes into coaching is probably not ideal for staying healthy.
“I’m not sure what it is with Ty, but my thoughts and prayers are with him that he gets better and gets back to coaching because I know he loves coaching.”
In a world where winning is usually the only thing that matters, and your job can be taken away in an instant, it makes sense that many coaches have struggled with sleep deprivation, stress, and many other mental issues. Even for someone as young as Lue, who is only 40 years old, these things can overwhelm.
As Walton noted, it is important for coaches to take time out and take care of themselves. It can be difficult, as many tend to be almost obsessive about their job and winning. However, the health concerns are very legitimate as these cases are showing, and being healthy is more important than winning any game.
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