Nike Launches Podcast About Athlete Mental Health, Will Feature Karl-Anthony Towns, Laurie Hernandez

No Off-Season aims to destigmatize the conversation around asking for mental health resources

Karl Anthony Towns, Laurie Hernandez
Photo: Nike; Harry How/Getty

With the conversation about mental health becoming more prominent among athletes, Nike has launched the first episode of a new podcast focusing on destigmatizing the topic.

No Off-Season features conversations between Nike athletes and mental health experts, Crisis Text Line's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shairi Turner and Natalia Dayan. Confirmed guests of the show include Karl-Anthony Towns, Laurie Hernandez, and Raven Saunders, amongst others.

"The goal of the podcast is to show those facing mental health challenges that they are not alone and that there is strength in asking for help," the podcast's official press release stated.

The statement continued, "Most of the athletes featured have confronted mental health issues, ones that have posed challenges to their relationships, their identities and their careers. These empathetic conversations will serve both the communities that need them most and the podcast-listeners everywhere."

Nike off-season podcast

According to Nike, "nearly 1 in 2 (47%) athletes only seek out mental health resources when they experience something traumatic." Moreover, Nike also reported that "95% of athletes reported that taking time to pause and reflect each day would make a difference."

No Off-Season is part of Nike's larger initiative to support mental health in the sports world. "Mental health is a critical part of our overall personal wellness and fitness," said Vanessa Garcia-Brito, vice president of communications at Nike. "It is just as important as physical health to realize our full potential – in sport and in life. At Nike, we know that in order for athletes to be successful it is important to cultivate a healthy mind and body for everyday life," she said.

Garcia-Brito continued, "No Off-Season provides a forum to bring more voices into the conversation around mental health and help de-stigmatize asking for support. No one should feel alone."

The first episode — which is available to stream now — features Minnesota Timberwolves star Towns. Hosted by Turner, the episode calls attention to Towns' grief following the loss of several family members to COVID-19, including his mother.

"I've never been in a mentally good place since that woman went in the hospital. It's getting harder and harder every day, as I keep losing people the season keeps rolling around," Towns told reporters back in 2020.

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In his episode of No Off-Season, Towns opens up about "what he's learned from dealing with loss, the ways he manages his own self-worth and how he hopes to enhance the mental health of his entire community," according to the episode's official description.

Episodes of No Off-Season will be available under Nike's Trained podcast feed on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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