NBA referee Bob Delaney is raising awareness about Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition he knows all too well. Delaney developed the disorder while working with the New Jersey State Police as an undercover officer who helped bring down the mob in the 1970s.
Thursday, he spoke to a group of soldiers at Fort Benning about what he calls a human condition.
"We've done this with HIV AIDS, we've done it with alcohol, we've done it with tobacco, and we've done it with drugs. The more we become educated and aware of what something is, the better we are at being able to manage it," Delaney said.
According to Doctor Stephen Muse at the Pastoral Institute in Columbus, PTSD is an anxiety disorder.
"They are not just imagining things, they are not just having psychological symptoms. The brain can't function properly and this particular part of the brain is responsible for putting things in chronological order and being able to make sense of it in space and time," said Dr. Muse.
Some of the classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress that Delaney experienced include: paranoia, isolation, hyper vigilance, thirst for revenge and anger.
"What I went on was an emotional roller coaster ride, I went into denial. People were trying to point things out to me, but I wasn't accepting of it. Back then there wasn't even a Post-traumatic Stress Diagnosis," Delaney said.
A medical diagnosis for PTSD would not come until the 1980s. Delaney told soldiers at Fort Benning the best cure is doing things they enjoy. He says he found his solace in being a referee for the NBA.
"Basketball became my therapy, that became somewhere I could go that gave me an inner peace," Delaney said.