Former SKT support Wolf retires, discusses mental health issues

Marta J. November 30, 2019

Veteran League of Legends support player Lee "Wolf" Jae-wa has announced his retirement from competitive play after eight years in the scene.

Wolf confirmed his retirement on Twitter soon after Inven Global published an exclusive interview. He shared he has been struggling with mental illnesses and doesn't feel like he can continue to be a pro player.

In the interview, Wolf shared that he’s been suffering from a number of mental health troubles which he says impacted his in-game performance. Wolf was diagnosed with depression, as well as adjustment, anxiety, and panic disorders in 2017 when he played for SK Telecom T1, now rebranded as T1. But the problems started even before then.

“Whenever I was playing, I felt like I wanted to throw up, but I just thought that I was really nervous. However, things got worse in 2017. Whether or not we’d win or lose a match, I’d immediately go throw up right after,” Wolf shared. “If I was retiring due to a decline in my in-game skills, I would feel much better, but I feel really bad that it’s not the case. I have to take care of my health first.”

SKT Wolf 2016

Legendary support hoped moving to the TCL would help him get better

Wolf overcame those struggles to put together an excellent career. During his five-year-long journey with T1, he won a number of titles and helped the team take home two World Championships.

But in 2018, his health took a turn for the worse. Panic attacks were triggered by minor things and the more he worked to get better, the more he suffered. After a turbulent season, he transferred to Turkey hoping that a new region would relieve some of the pressure and help with the symptoms of his illnesses.

He joined SuperMassive Esports, which finished the 2019 Turkish Championship League in second place, but this wasn’t enough to qualify for Worlds. This ultimately did little to turn his mental health around, which led to him opting to stick a fork in his career as a pro player. 

Wolf noted that he wants to continue playing, but ongoing panic attacks convinced him to stop for now. That said, this isn't the last fans will hear of him. Wolf stated he will be focusing on his streams, but could transition into roles as a reporter, coach, or caster. He also floated the idea of opening his own PC bang in Korea.

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