Former NBA referee Bob Delaney is coming to Fort Benning on Thursday — but basketball isn’t on his mind.
He’ll address Maneuver Captains Career Course students that morning on the subject of post-traumatic stress disorder and sign copies of his new book, Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post-Traumatic Stress, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Fort Benning PX. He’s set to attend the Gateway Foundation dedication in the afternoon.
“I will share what I believe is the first line of defense against PTS becoming PTSD — peer-to-peer therapy,” he said. “I will share how it helped me, how I have witnessed it help others. I will share thoughts on PTS education and awareness.
“My presentation is not doom and gloom. I speak of hope in dealing with this human condition. Providing knowledge about this subject is what my hope and goal is when I spend time with the troops.”
Delaney, 59, worked in the NBA for 25 seasons, retiring this past June after the 2010-11 campaign.
Prior to officiating in the league, however, he was an undercover officer in the New Jersey State Police. During the mid-1970s, he joined a covert operation known as “Project Alpha,” an investigation into the New Jersey organized crime scene.
“I was a New Jersey state trooper who went undercover and infiltrated the mob,” he said. “I spent close to three years being another person. Living in a subculture of criminal ways took its toll on me. Peer-to-peer therapy worked for me, as did nontraditional therapy, and I will share the details of my personal journey of healing.”
Delaney has spoken with cops, firefighters and emergency first-responders about post-traumatic stress for the past quarter-century. Since 2005, he’s extended those efforts to the military.
He was embedded with the 25th Infantry Division in Mosul, Iraq, in July 2009. The following year, Delaney spent some time with U.S. Forces Iraq command at Camp Victory. He said he’s also spoken with wounded warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
“I had the opportunity to speak at a commander’s conference at Fort Benning last year,” he said. “I look forward to visiting there again. The more we take away the stigma by talking about PTS and PTSD, the better.”
Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post-Traumatic Stress hit bookstores Sept. 6. Delaney said he hopes readers gain a better understanding of PTS and PTSD.
“This is a human condition — not a military, law enforcement, firefighter or emergency first-responder condition. We are all susceptible to PTS,” he said. “I share 21st-century therapies as alternatives. There are stories of men and women who have experienced PTS and PTSD and how they worked through the condition. There are doctors who explain the physiology, emotional and psychological aspects.
“Ignorance breeds fear. The more we know about a subject, the less it controls us.”
PTS and PTSD impact family and friends, Delaney said, and he encourages them to attend Thursday’s presentation and book signing.
“It is my belief that when someone is going through post-traumatic stress, family and friends are going through active-traumatic stress,” he said.