Stamford, Conn./Chicago, Ill. (November 6, 2019) – NBC Sports Regional Networks is launching its multiplatform initiative on mental health and men’s health, HeadStrong: Mental Health and Sports, throughout November. The month-long campaign begins with the debut of the feature documentary HeadStrong: Mental Health and Sports, on each of the NBC Sports Regional Networks, along with on-site activations and events planned in several key markets, and robust short-form content featuring a broad array of perspectives on mental health and men’s health. The documentary is produced in partnership with Religion of Sports, the Sports Emmy-winning media company founded by Tom Brady, Michael Strahan, and Gotham Chopra.
The one-hour HeadStrong: Mental Health and Sports documentary premieres this week on the NBC Sports Regional Networks and debuts nationwide on NBCSN on November 20. HeadStrong will make its NBC Sports Chicago premiere on Saturday, November 9 at 9:00 PM CT with re-airs to occur throughout the month on both the main NBC Sports Chicago channel location and on NBC Sports Chicago+.
The HeadStrong: Mental Health and Sports documentary tells the story of four elite athletes who have faced mental health challenges: Justise Winslow, forward/guard for Miami Heat; Nathan Braaten, former Oregon State University soccer player and founder of Dam Worth It; Hayden Hurst, Baltimore Ravens tight end; and Clint Malarchuk, former goalie for Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals, and Buffalo Sabres. Six-time Pro Bowl receiver and Founder of House Of Athlete Brandon Marshall also appears in the program and serves as an executive producer. A trailer of the one-hour documentary special is available here.
As part of the HeadStrong initiative, a series of more than 35 short-form digital video features focused on mental health and men’s health issues will be released throughout the month on a special HeadStrong web page, www.nbcsports.com\headstrong. An additional 50-plus combined short-form digital video features will be published by the NBC Sports Regional Networks on their respective HeadStrong sites, including Chicago-specific vignettes on NBCSportsChicago.com featuring interviews with former Bears standouts Lance Briggs and Matt Forte, “Football Aftershow” host Laurence Holmes, former Northwestern running back Torri Stuckey and former Bears running back/veteran NBC 5 Chicago sports anchor Mike Adamle and his wife Kim among others. In addition, written articles, social content, and other media will complement the feature documentary and short-form videos. Plus – fans can look forward to an exclusive interview with Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner that will air on upcoming editions of “Blackhawks Pregame Live” and “Blackhawks All Accces.”
To create additional awareness and to further the conversation surrounding mental health and men’s health issues, NBC Sports Regional Networks will host special events and activations in several markets, including Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington. NBC Sports Chicago held its informative and moving HeadStrong activation event on Monday, November 4 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago which featured insights from medical experts including Gail Grabcynski (LCSW, Making the Difference International, Inc.;Lead Mental Health Clinician for the Chicago Bears for 11 years), Andrew Joy (former mental skills coach with the Blackhawks Stanley Cup-winning team in 2015; Founder, The Mental Difference-Sports Psychology Training and Counseling Services, Dr. Stewart Shankman (Professor and Chief of the Division of Psychology, Northwestern Medicine), along with candid, real-life discussions and coping skills conversations featuring the Adamle’s and Stuckey. Hosted by NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan, the special event also included a sneak preview screening of the upcoming HeadStrong documentary.
Many NBC Sports Regional Networks on-air commentators - including NBC Sports Chicago’s Pat Boyle - are making personal pledges to support the initiative. In partnership with Movember and their annual campaign in which men grow moustaches during November to generate awareness and raise funds for men’s health issues, more than 15 NBC Sports Regional Networks hosts, analysts and reporters will ‘grow their mo,’ and promote their efforts across platforms. Fans can follow their progress by using #HeadStrongNBC and #Movember, plus – fans can make a donation to NBC Sports Chicago’s Movember team by visiting NBCSportsChicago.com/Movember.
The HeadStrong initiative follows NBC Sports Regional Networks’ successful documentary project last year on youth sports, entitled Fair Play, and the 2017 initiative
TOMBOY, which focused on gender issues in sports. Both Fair Play and TOMBOY were produced by NBC Sports Regional Networks and were televised nationwide on NBC Owned Television Stations and NBCSN.