South American Dota 2 powerhouse Beastcoast announced on Thursday (25 May) that star carry player Héctor "K1" Rodríguez will be taking a temporary break from competitive play to focus on his mental health.
Beastcoast said in their announcement that Héctor decided to take a break "to prioritize his well-being". The team has also tapped David "Parker" Flores to stand-in for Héctor during his absence.
Beastcoast did not provide a full timeline for Héctor's absence, only saying Parker will be his stand-in for "the rest of the season". It is unclear if that refers to the rest of the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) — which could mean that Héctor will also be absent for the upcoming Bali Major, assuming Beastcoast qualifies — or just the remainder of the Summer Tour regional league.
"Hector will be taking a temporary mental health break to prioritize his well-being. We fully support Hector's decision and will provide him with the necessary support during this challenging time," said Beastcoast.
"We will evaluate our performance on a game-by-game basis, and as always, our focus remains on maintaining our competitive edge and achieving success."
Héctor's decision to take a mental health break notably follows a surprising 0-2 loss for Beastcoast against former Division II team Mad Kings in the South American regional league on Wednesday (24 May).
The impact of that loss was only amplified by the fact that Beastcoast did not lose a single match through the Winter and Spring Tour regional leagues for South America so far this season.
Beastcoast's record in the Summer Tour regional league prior to Héctor taking a break was 3-1, tied for second in the league behind regional rivals Evil Geniuses. Beastcoast will now be looking to finish the Summer Tour within the Top 2 and qualify for the Bali Major without their star carry player.
Beastcoast is also ranked sixth in the DPC leaderboard with 600 points — tied with North America's TSM — and in good position to secure a direct invite to The International 2023, which will be held in Seattle this October.
Héctor is notably the second high-profile player in the DPC to step away from competition due to mental health.
Earlier this month, Western European powerhouse OG announced that they will be without position 4 support player Tommy "Taiga" Le for some time. Taiga later revealed that the reason for his absence was an ongoing battle with "anxiety and depression".
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