Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery taking some time away from basketball for health issues

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Patrick McCaffery won’t be playing basketball for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the near future as he deals with “some residual health issues” related to the thyroid cancer he was diagnosed with as a seventh-grader.

That was the word delivered by Patrick’s father, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery, after the Hawkeyes dispatched Oral Roberts 87-74 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Patrick McCaffery, a freshman forward, sat out the game but was on the bench in a bright blue suit.

Fran McCaffery stressed that the cancer has not returned and that the situation is not life-threatening.

“There’s a lot of changes in his body we’re working through and we’re taking it day by day,” Fran McCaffery said.

There is no discussion yet of Patrick taking a redshirt season.

“We’ll see down the road. He’s going to see some people and we’ll take our time with it,” Fran said.

Connor McCaffery, Patrick’s older brother and a point guard on the Hawkeye team, said it’s something that has cropped up before at times in the years since iodine treatments and the removal of the thyroid removed all traces of Patrick’s cancer.

“You can tell he’s not himself at times,” Connor McCaffery said. “We just try to stay positive with him and try to get him to a point where he’s feeling good. After all he’s been through, that’s kind of what we’re looking for.”

Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery dunks during a game against DePaul on Monday. On Friday, McCaffery sat out against Oral Roberts due to what his father and coach Fran McCaffery called "residual health issues" related to the thyroid cancer he had as a seventh-grader. The cancer has not returned and the situation is not life-threatening, Fran McCaffery said.

The brothers have matching tattoos on their arms that read: “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” It is accompanied by the No. 22, which Patrick wears. The quote is from a famous speech by ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who died after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Fran and Margaret McCaffery have spent years raising money for cancer research.

“I didn’t really notice until a couple of weeks ago,” Connor McCaffery said of his brother’s health issue. “I think that he’s been good. He’s still working hard. He’s trying. I think it’s just a lot that’s out of his control.

“He’s going to work. That’s him. He’s going to keep playing. He’s a hooper. He’s competitive. But I think that, for him, making sure he’s healthy is the most important thing.”

Patrick McCaffery had six points and five rebounds in 27 minutes of playing time in Iowa’s opening two games.

Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.

No one covers the Hawkeyes like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines to make sure you never miss a moment.