After missing part of rookie WNBA season, former WVU star Gondrezick speaks out on mental health

Gold and Blue Nation

In statement, player says she paused basketball career to correct "mental imbalance"

Countdown To Christmas
December 25 2021 12:00 am

For a period of time last summer, Kysre Gondrezick appeared to be on top of the world.

The former WVU women’s basketball star became the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft, signing a pro contract with the Indiana Fever, as well as sponsorship deals with Adidas and Wilson. A version of her jersey reportedly sold out in less than an hour. Fans from all over posted photos of themselves in that new No. 4 jersey — with different shades of blue and gold than the ones she had worn for WVU.

Then suddenly, it all stopped.

Gondrezick made her last appearance in a WNBA game on July 11. A few days later, she made what still stands as her most recent Instagram post on an account followed by nearly half a million users, effectively going silent on social media for roughly four months.

After making just 19 appearances in her rookie season, Gondrezick took a personal leave from the Fever. As she admitted Monday via a statement on Twitter, she wasn’t on top of the world as it may have appeared.

Instead, she needed to step back and focus on what she calls a “mental imbalance.”

“My mental health was at high risk as I was under a lot of stress coping with my own personal silence of traumas,” Gondrezick said in her statement. “After losing my father, the pressure began to mount for what I considered my job as a facet of grieving, I wasn’t present to the idea of efficiently knowing how to cope. I was so happy and proud of reaching one of my personal goals of playing in the WNBA, yet I lost sight of his presence, my focus, and ultimately, the fun in the game.”

While the last year of Gondrezick’s life has included some epic accomplishments, she has also dealt with hardship, including the unexpected death of her father, Grant. Gondrezick missed only one game during final season at WVU after her father died.

“For the last five months, I placed a pause on social life and additional activities to get the help and support for my mental health and well-being. I have done a lot of inner work with the understanding that the process will and forever continue,” she said.

“Today I am better as a person and am absolutely comfortable in my own skin. I have given myself grace in making my own choices, free of judgement and without guilt over what is best for me,” her statement continued. “For many years, I worried more about what others thought of me and my decisions. I realize now that prioritizing my mental health was the most important lesson of all to move past unlearned behaviors that caused continued pain and trauma. I am thankful that God has blessed me with time, the right people, and grace throughout this journey. Thank you to everyone for your support, thoughts and prayers. It has not got unnoticed.”

Indiana Fever head coach Marianne Stanley released a responding statement through the Fever’s Twitter account.

“We are glad Kysre is doing well and was able to seek help during such a tough time for her personally. We support all of our players as they gather additional guidance in improving their wellness and mental health,” said Stanley.

It’s unclear at this time exactly when Gondrezick will return to basketball.

The native of Benton Harbor, Michigan, earned All-Big 12 and All-America honors after her senior season with WVU. She averaged 19.5 points per game during her stellar 2020-21 campaign.

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