PawN to sit out for the LCK Summer Split to work on mental health

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KingZone DragonX mid laner Won-seok “PawN” Heo will be sitting out for the LCK 2019 Summer Split in order to recover from ongoing health issues, according to an announcement by the team earlier today. PawN’s benching is the result of an agreement between the the player and KingZone DragonX staff.

PawN has struggled with health issues throughout his career. In 2015, he was benched for several weeks due to a herniated disc, though he returned to help push EDward Gaming to that year’s Mid-Season Invitational.

This time around, PawN’s health problems might not be limited to his lower back. “PawN had continued talk with the mental coach and all the other coaching staff also spared no effort to care for him feel comfortable and relaxed,” wrote a KingZone representative in the announcement. “We, however, finally agreed to take some time for recovery according to his will.”

PawN’s meetings with a “mental coach” could indicate that his hiatus is at least partially a result of competition-related stress or depression. KingZone DragonX failed to qualify for the MSI this year, getting shut out by SK Telecom T1 in their Spring Split semifinal, and this failure may have made PawN yearn for past career highs such as his Summer Split victory alongside KT Rolster last year.

Whether PawN’s ailments are mental or physical, time off from the game will help him get back on his feet. “We are planning to work together so that he can come back as quickly as possible through ongoing training, counselling and management,” wrote the KingZone representative.