Chris Kaman Reveals Childhood Misdiagnosis on ESPNís "Outside the Lines"
Kaman, who is in the midst of an All-Star caliber season, is averaging a career-high 17.9 points, 13.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. He attributes his improvements on the court to his ability to focus, thanks to the use of Neurofeedback technology with the company Hope139 (www.hope139.com).
Kaman learned from Dr. Tim Royer that he does not have ADHD, but rather what Royer calls "an anxious brain." Kaman's brain was working too fast, not too slow as implied by his previous ADHD diagnosis.
The Clippers center has been working with Royer and Neurofeedback technology since last July. The technology requires Kaman to sit in front a computer screen that monitors his brain waves. This exercise helps him learn how to regulate his brain waves so that he can focus, which he attributes to the career season he's having.
Clippers.com sat down with Kaman for an exclusive one-on-one interview on Wednesday, January 16th.
Kaman chatted online with fans about his experience with Neurofeedback technology, the 2007-08 season and more on Clippers.com on Tuesday, January 22nd.
Chris Kaman: My cousin goes to the same school that I went to. They have a program at her school that works with kids who struggle with paying attention, concentration, etc. She started using the Neurofeedback technology for a while, then her grades started to improve and her whole demeanor started to change in a positive way.
My uncle, who I really admire and I trust his opinion, gave me Dr. Royerís number. We met, and I didnít really get it at first, but once I figured out how it worked, I liked it and wanted to try it.
Clippers.com: I heard that you were skeptical at first. Why?
CK: They (Dr. Royer) tried to explain it to me, and usually I understand things right away, especially when it comes to electronics and technology. It was just weird - putting something on your head to see whatís going on in your brain Ė it just didnít make much sense to me. I was real skeptical about whether or not it was going to work or if it would work for some people and not others. But then I found out that everybody could do it.
Clippers.com: What were your thoughts when you first discovered you were misdiagnosed?
CK: I was frustrated. My whole life Iíve struggled getting through school, I was taking all of these pills, I wasnít getting good grades, I couldnít pay attention when I was supposed to, I got yelled at a lot, and I got into a lot of trouble. So I was frustrated; I went through a lot.
Now thinking back, Iím in a position now where Iím able to help people who were like me when I was younger. I wouldnít change the past because of where Iím at now Ė Iím really blessed.
Clippers.com: How did your family and friends react?
CK: They didnít believe that I wasnít ADHD because growing up I was always so wild and getting in trouble. They were frustrated with me my whole life. Right away they just coulnít believe it. My mom didnít know what to think, and my dadís still a little skeptical.
Clippers.com: What has been the most noticeable difference in your behavior both on and off the court?
CK: Concentration, and Iíve taken a lot of the impulse stuff away. Iím a very impulsive person and by concentrating more, it allows me to think through things a lot better. I can see if the end result is going to be good or bad, so now half the time I wonít do it where normally I would just jump right into something and not think twice about it.
Clippers.com: You said in an interview that youíve put your own resources into the company. What made you decide to do that?
CK: Initially they (Hope139) wanted to see if they could help me. Once I started doing (the Neurofeedback technology) for a few months, it changed my life, the way I act and the way that I think, and itís helped my game so much. I have a platform being in the NBA and the resources that Iím able to help out and get the word out.
Weíre working with schools all over the country to get kids into the program. We can help them with test scores, IQ scores and grade point averages. Itís benefited a lot of kids, so I thought I needed to get involved.
Clippers.com: What kind of feedback have you received since the story aired on ďOutside the LinesĒ?
CK: My guys got a lot of emails from all over the world I guess, but I only talked to them once since the show aired. But I hear theyíre getting e-mails from all over the world saying that this could help their son or their daughter.
Clippers.com: Can you recall any specific instances in your past where, had you been using Neurofeedback technology, the outcome of the situation would have been different?
CK: Thatís why I said I wouldnít want to change it (the past). What Iíve been through Ė the good times and the bad Ė made me who I am and put me where Iím at today. I donít want to look back and try and change things, but Iím sure it would have been different for me growing up. It would have made my schoolwork and classes a lot easier for me and I probably wouldnít have gotten into as much trouble. Iím satisfied with where Iím at, and I donít want to change anything.
Clippers.com: Before Neurofeedback technology, were there certain game situations where you felt more focused, like for instance at the free-throw line?
CK: Iíve been an okay free-throw shooter my whole life... I still struggle a little bit. I donít know. I think a lot of it (the improvement) has been defensively for me this year - Iíve been a lot better at rebounding and blocking shots. And Eltonís not out there, so that makes a difference when Iím rebounding.
Clippers.com: You mentioned on the ďOutside the LinesĒ interview that you had no self control when it came to spending money. What kind of purchases did you used to make before you started using the Neurofeedback technology?
CK: I have four houses now, I had five. I just sold one. I had purchased more than 12 or 13 different cars, I got a $2 million boatÖ just a lot of stupid things that I call ďBDísĒ Ė Bad Decisions. Iím looking to try and change all of that.
Clippers.com: Your name has been mentioned as an early candidate for both All-Star selection and Most Improved Player. How do you feel about that?
CK: I think all thatís great talk, but I donít know if that will happen. This season I definitely improved a lot more than I thought I would. I wasnít sure what was going to happen this year honestly, with Elton being out and the struggle I had last year. I just wasnít sure.
Clippers.com: Do you think youíre game will change at all once Elton returns to the lineup?
CK: My numbers will probably change, but my game wonít. Iíll get fewer shots, heíll be taking some of the rebounds and my minutes will probably decrease a little bit against teams like Phoenix that have a small lineup. Other than that, Iíll still play the same way and put the same energy and focus that I give now.
Clippers.com: I know youíre a huge Guitar Hero fan; has this helped your ability to play?
CK: I donít know, maybe! Iím just good. Iím usually good at video games either way. Once I get something new I just stick to it until I get it figured it out and try and master it as best as I can.
Clippers.com: Have you mastered it yet?
CK: Iím good, Iíve definitely beat a few levels but itís just getting real hard. Iím at a new level and itís going real fast for me right now, but itís coming. I donít play it as much as I used to, Iím kind of bored of it now.
Want to know more about Kaman's experience? Kaman chatted online with fans about his experience with Neurofeedback technology, the 2007-08 season and more on Clippers.com on Tuesday, January 22nd.
Read Local Clips:
- Kaman recalls frustrations of childhood - by Jonathan Abrams, L.A. Times
- Kamanís reflection - by Art Thompson III, O.C. Register