Dr. Kass developed an expertise in sports psychiatry through years of both high-level athletic participation and psychiatric experience. Dr. Kass grew up playing interscholastic and club basketball in the greater Los Angeles area, where he competed against some of the country’s best athletes, including Russell Westbrook (UCLA, Houston Rockets), Trevor Ariza (UCLA, Portland Trailblazers), Brandon Jennings (2009-2010 NBA First Team All-Rookie), Aaron Afflalo (UCLA, 12-year NBA veteran), and Amir Johnson (14-year NBA veteran). Dr. Kass was recruited to and played varsity basketball at Pomona College (NCAA Division 3). It was his experience at Pomona College of trying to balance the demands of collegiate athletics and rigorous pre-medical studies where he first experienced and learned about the unique mental health issues facing high level athletes. Even after retiring from competitive basketball, Dr. Kass spent much of his early professional career engaged in high level athletics by coaching at several Southern California high schools, and even starting and coaching the varsity basketball team at Dr. Olga Mohan High School for 3 years.
One reason Dr. Kass chose to practice psychiatry was because he wanted to help high level athletes manage the unique mental issues they face. Dr. Kass’s goal is to provide each client with individualized, sport specific care that takes into account both their specific mental health conditions and athletic demands. In addition to empathizing with the unique stressors high level athletes face (ie. coping with injuries, performance anxiety, conflicts with coaches, demanding schedules, etc), Dr. Kass works with athletes to create treatment plans that meet his clients’ mental health and athletic goals. Dr. Kass uses his psychiatric expertise to ensure that all treatment plans address a client’s emotional and psychological needs, while also optimizing their athletic performance. In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Kass is an active member of the International Society of Sports Psychiatrists, where he collaborates closely with colleagues on ways to better understand and treat mental health conditions afflicting athletes.