Khalil Greene's Experience with Social Anxiety

Khalil Greene. Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Khalil Thabit Greene was born on October 21, 1979, in Butler, Pennsylvania. Greene was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2002, and played his first full season in 2004, coming in second place in voting for the National League Rookie of the Year.

Despite early success, Greene began to experience difficulty in 2008 when he broke his hand on July 30 after punching a storage box in frustration after striking out for the 100th time that year.

Greene did not play for the rest of the 2008 season and on December 4, 2008, was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.

While a shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, Khalil Greene spent time on the disabled list in May and June of 2009 due to social anxiety disorder (SAD).

In 2010 he signed a contract with the Texas Rangers but again was sidelined by social anxiety in February of that year and did not attend spring training. His contract with the Rangers was later voided.

In an article published in September 2014, sportswriter Rob Rains reported that Greene was refusing interviews and preferred to remain out of the spotlight. At the time, it was known that he lived near Greenville, South Carolina with his wife and two sons.

In the past, Greene spoke publicly about having a long-standing pattern of emotional problems, of taking things more seriously than others, and of feeling mentally drained, but did not report physical symptoms of anxiety such as a racing heart or shortness of breath.

In contrast to other athletes with social anxiety, there were also reports that Greene engaged in acts of self-harm such as cutting his hands, to relieve tension and anxiety. Self-harm is not itself a symptom of social anxiety disorder, reflecting the complex nature of Greene's health issues.

Unlike other celebrities who have chosen to engage in public outreach or public speaking pertaining to their illness, Greene has remained out of the public eye.

Reports indicate that Greene received an undisclosed form of treatment for anxiety.

Khalil's Thoughts About Social Anxiety:

I don't know what level, as far as how much one internalizes the feelings, how deep they go to the core of a person, but for me it's always been pretty deep. I've always taken the game pretty seriously and wanted to perform well. It's been a love-hate relationship in a lot of ways.

A lot of that is natural and it's a response to what you consider important. A lot of that is healthy, but for me, it wasn't healthy in terms of how deep it goes. I don't know how to describe it, other than the fact it wasn't pleasant.

It was difficult to concentrate, difficult to sustain my energy level. All my energy was wasted trying to control myself. Just trying to get myself to function, to be able to stay in the game and not be thinking so much what I'm thinking. It's just a battle to be relaxed. I'm trying to battle that and find a way to come to terms with that, trying to find those coping mechanisms.


Rains R. Whatever happened to former Cardinals infielder Khalil Greene? Accessed June 25, 2015.

Hulsey J. Report: Cardinal's Khalil Greene Might be Cutting Himself. Accessed June 25, 2015.

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