Sports psychologist Gary Malone says that medications former Heisman winner Johnny Manziel may take to combat his bipolar disorder may affect his on-field ability, including his hand-eye coordination, and the speed at which he can make in-game decisions.
"People come up to us like 'what the hell is your son doing?'" Manziel said, talking Monday morning on GMA about his bout with alcoholism, and bipolar.
"Where did that get me, except out of the NFL?" Manziel asked, in an introspective interview.
And many were led to analyze every word, emotion, and mannerism.
"I thought he looked like he was speaking from the heart," said Malone. But, he added, "there's some holes in the story."
One of the things Malone liked, was this statement from Manziel:
"I had a sense of entitlement about what I had accomplished, at the age that I'd accomplished it, and I got so engrained into only caring about what Johnny wanted."
"He now is starting to be more genuine, and he cares what other people think," Malone noted. "That's growth. So, I was very hopeful about that. He cared that he hurt his parents so badly.
"But, the thing that didn't hang true for me is, he de-emphasized the need for traditional recovery,
Malone said. "Because if you're bipolar and you're drinking and using, your medications don't work."
Malone says to use bipolar disorder as an excuse for drinking is to miss half the point.
"You don't simply say that I was self-medicating my feelings," Malone said. "Because he has a separate stand alone illness which is chemical dependency. So his recovery program has to be very solid, has to lead. And then he has to get on proper medicines."
And it's those medicines that, while important for Manziel's life, could be detrimental to his goal of getting back on the field.
"Hand eye coordination - it's pretty common for that to be slower," Malone said, "and even sometimes not as quick decision making."
So if Manziel wants to be "Johnny Football" again:
"You have to be sober, take proper medicines, create a sane life, go to therapy to get their emotional conflicts resolved and some spiritual peace. You want to make sure those things are happening, and that he can still play."
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