|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
Therapy helps Alex Rodriguez avoid "train wreck"
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez hit one out of the park for troubled souls everywhere yesterday when he bravely declared that he sees therapists to deal with his personal demons.
The baseball superstar made the public admission about the help he has gotten for his private anguish after he and his wife, Cynthia, donated $200,000 to a mental health program at the Children's Aid Society in Washington Heights.
"I don't know where I'd be" without therapy, A-Rod told the television show "Extra" for a segment expected to air today at 7:30 p.m. on KONG.
"I think it's a different life that I've discovered and I thank Cynthia for that because therapy is an incredible thing and you might get to know someone you didn't even know was in there."
"Why let the train wreck come before you fix it?" he added.
The revelation by the 29-year-old All-Star is a rarity in the professional sports world, where athletes strive to maintain a macho image.
The Yankees' third baseman said during the interview he has seen at least three therapists, and is currently seeing two.
He didn't specify his reasons for seeking help, but described the sessions as "a maintenance thing."
"It's helped in baseball, for one, in terms of my approach to everything," he told the Daily News before hitting home runs in his first two at-bats last night at Yankee Stadium. "I think it would be great if kids out there realize that it can be a great benefit."
Rodriguez conceded he was a reluctant patient at first. "There's a lot of misinformation out there about therapy," he said.
While he struggled at times during his first season as a Yankee last year, Rodriguez, who will make more than $25 million this season, now leads the American League in home runs and runs batted in.
He's in the middle of a $252 million, 10-year contract as the highest-paid player in baseball.
During the "Extra" interview, Cynthia Rodriguez, who has a psychology degree, said she was proud of her husband.
"I know where he came from and I know his background and seeing how successful he is as a man, as a husband, as a friend, it really hits home with me," she told the show. "It's because of therapeutic intervention that he's been able to discover and flourish as a person."
Rodriguez has said he was haunted by memories of the father who abandoned him when he was 9. Raised by his mom in Miami, he spent most of his childhood looking for a father figure.
"I thought he was coming back," he told The Seattle Times in 1998. "But he never came back. ... It still hurts."
Rodriguez's dad, Victor, who had split for New York, resurfaced after his son broke into the majors. But the two remain estranged.
Manhattan psychiatrist Wayne Myers, who has treated pro athletes, called Rodriguez's revelation "courageous."
"For a name player like A-Rod to come and say that is a great thing," Myers said. "It gives permission for other players to do the same thing."
Another Manhattan psychiatrist, Michael Aronoff, said, "Rodriguez is just the kind of person necessary to take the stigma away from seeing a therapist."
Jimmy Piersall, who broke into the majors in 1950, was the first pro baseball player to publicly struggle with mental health problems. His career was stalled by a nervous breakdown, which he recounted in the book "Fear Strikes Out."
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company