Nike’s New Podcast ‘No Off-Season’ Aims To Destigmatize Mental Health Conversations Amongst Athletes

Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns. (Photo: Keith Major for EBONY Magazine)

Today, during Mental Health Awareness Month, Nike will launch ‘No Off-Season’, a podcast featuring conversations with Nike athletes guided by Crisis Text Line mental health experts, Dr. Shairi Turner and Natalia Dayan. The goal of the podcast is to show those facing mental health challenges that they are not alone and there is strength in asking for help. Dr. Turner explains, “We know a holistic game plan involving mind, body, and spirit is important for achieving success in sport and in life.”

This season of the podcast features vulnerable conversations with Nike athletes such as Olympic shotputter Raven Saunders, NBA All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, Gymnast Laurie Hernandez, amongst others discussing depression, grief, and trauma through their perspectives.

Minnesota Timberwolves Center, Karl-Anthony Towns. Image: courtesy of Nike.

The premier episode, ‘Finding Purpose Through Pain’, kicks off with a conversation about navigating grief between Towns and Dr. Turner. Towns, who lost eight members of his family (including his mom and grandmother) to COVID-19 in 2020, reflects on dealing with loss, admitting he felt like a failure for not being able to protect his family. In order to overcome the immeasurable heartbreak, he says “I took a step back and said through all the pain, all the failure, through all the things I went through. I had to come to a place where I had to give myself some credit somewhere in the middle.” He says, “Now I always find at least 45 minutes a day, where it’s just me, decompressing and doing words of affirmation, letting it be known that I’m proud of myself.”

Saunders who has experienced depression and chosen to speak out despite the stigma. She says, “We have to start changing that conversation. We have to be more open so we can understand so that the people who are struggling have an open space because its just going to make us all better.”

2020 Olympics Silver Medalist, Raven Saunders. Image courtesy of Nike.

Using the podcast, Nike is redefining sport for a new generation and this means that the brand is addressing everything from physical to mental health and performance. Through important partnerships like Headspace and Crisis Text Line, Nike ensures athletes, employees and their families have equal access to these resources, enabling them to take advantage of offerings that help them realize their full potential. 

No Off-Season episodes will be published under Nike’s Trained feed on both Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Crisis Text Line is here to support you or someone you care about that’s experiencing difficult emotions, text STRONG to 741741 for free 24/7 support at your fingertips.

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