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Taking inspiration from Robin Lehner's experience with depression

Taking inspiration from Robin Lehner's experience with depression

NBC Sports Chicago's Sarah Lauch worked with Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner for the upcoming documentary "Headstrong." Talking with Lehner about mental health returned her mind to her close experience with depression.

“Try some melatonin.”

That was the last thing that I typed to my brother before he committed suicide. 

He was reaching out, desperate, unable to sleep, depressed and as I found out shortly after, he was teetering between life and death. Imagine my regrets.

In the past, I ignored friends and family who said that they “could not get out of bed” or “could not attend an event because of their anxiety.” I brushed it off as laziness and was angry that I was able to function with so much going on and they just “laid around.” They were seemingly happy on the outside, so it was confusing to me. Now, having many close friends with mental health issues and having a nephew with no father, I regret that those thoughts EVER crossed my mind.

For the past few months, we have been producing content about mental health and sports, leading up to the release of the NBC Sports documentary “Headstrong.” When I was initially tasked with the assignment, my heart dropped. Less than two years after Bryan’s untimely death, the scars were still fresh. How would I interview people about a subject so close to me? How would I keep my cool if someone cried in front of me? How pissed off and resentful would I be that the interview subject was spared and Bryan was gone?

It was not easy, but it was cathartic.

Robin Lehner, the Blackhawks new goalie, inspired me to write this. It isn’t for the people that have depression and suicidal thoughts, I cannot imagine what they go through. This is for the people like me that brushed it off, until it hit home. Literal home.

“When I am in a deep depression, I do not even care about my own kids,” says Lehner.

When we release Lehner’s feature in the next few weeks, I hope that you listen to his words. He has gone through hell and back, but he has a team that supports him, that wants to be there for him and he feels empowered to talk about it, instead of bowing to the pressure of society to hide it. Robin is doing it right.

Many told me that once my brother made up his mind to end his life that there was no going back. I do not believe that. That was to make me and my family, left in despair, feel better. l believe that there is always hope….something to live for...some way to show desperate people that they are important.

I learned a lot producing and editing this content, but more importantly, I am hopeful that these stories could save lives. The documentary is extraordinary and the timing is impeccable.

“Headstrong” premieres on NBC Sports Chicago on Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. 

Red Stars' Kealia Ohai marries Houston Texans' JJ Watt

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USA TODAY

Red Stars' Kealia Ohai marries Houston Texans' JJ Watt

There’s a new sports power couple with ties to Chicago.

Kealia Ohai, a midfielder who was traded to the Red Stars in January, married Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt on Saturday in The Bahamas. The pair shared a number of photos on social media the morning after.


Ohai had spent the first six years of her pro career with the Houston Dash, putting her in the same city as Watt. When Ohai was traded to the Red Stars, she and her then fiancé took photos together decked out in Red Stars gear.

Ohai has 28 goals in her NWSL career and has made three appearances for the U.S. national team. Watt is a five-time all-pro defensive end who has won three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

They aren’t the only soccer-football marriage on the Red Stars. Midfielder Julie Ertz is married to Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.

NBC Sports Chicago to air 'The Adamles: Mind Over Matter' documentary

NBC Sports Chicago to air 'The Adamles: Mind Over Matter' documentary

Chicago, IL (February 12, 2020) – NBC Sports Chicago will provide viewers with a special, exclusive documentary presentation entitled The Adamles: Mind Over Matter, chronicling the past year with beloved Chicago sports on-field/broadcasting icon Mike Adamle and his devoted wife Kim on their challenging journey dealing with the life-altering effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  This in-depth, half-hour documentary unveiling the emotional realities of heartache, hope, love and triumph premieres Monday, February 17 at 7:00 PM CT exclusively on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive.  TRAILER: https://bit.ly/37nxdfA

 

Over the past few years, Mike and Kim have been open about sharing their daily challenges to help bring a heightened level of awareness of CTE, along with better educating other individuals who may also be suffering with CTE symptoms. Mike, a standout athlete who was both an All-American fullback at Northwestern and a veteran of six seasons in the NFL, including one with the Chicago Bears, is probably best known off-the-field as one of local and national sports media’s most versatile anchor/reporters. After a successful three decade-plus career in sports media, Mike officially retired in 2017 due to his health issues. While CTE can only be diagnosed post-mortem, many experts believe Mike is living with it, but he and Kim are determined to not let the disease win, nor define their life and devotion to one another.

 

The Adamles: Mind Over Matter was produced, written and edited by NBC Sports Chicago’s Emmy award-winning team of Executive Producer of Original Content Sarah Lauch, Senior Producer of Original Content Ryan McGuffey and Managing Photographer Matt Buckman. 

 

“Mike and Kim’s story is one that we felt needed more than just one interview…we needed to experience their challenges with them over the course of a year to better enable us and our viewers to fully understand what they are going through on a daily basis,” said Kevin Cross, Senior Vice President/General Manager, NBC Sports Chicago.  “We couldn’t be more thankful to Mike and Kim for opening their doors and hearts to us and we are honored to tell this amazing story about their unwavering determination and love.”

 

In addition to deep discussion with Mike and Kim, The Adamles: Mind Over Matter includes interviews with Dr. Bal Nandra (IV Solution Chicago), Dr. George Michalopoulos & Dr. David Traster (The Neurologic Wellness Institute), Jesse & Iryna DeSoto (Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Long Grove) and Adamle family friend/NBC Sports Chicago host David Kaplan.  

 

NBC Sports Chicago will re-air The Adamles: Mind Over Matter throughout the month of February on the following dates/times: Feb 19 (9:00 PM), Feb 20 (11:30 AM on NBCSCH+), Feb 22 (12:30 PM), Feb 24 (11:00 PM), Feb 27 (6:00 PM on NBCSCH+), Feb 28 (9:00 AM on NBCSCH+) and Feb 29 (9:30 PM).

 

Please note the following quotes from the NBC Sports Chicago Original Production of The Adamles: Mind Over Matter, debuting Monday, February 17 at 7:00 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago and NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive:

 

“The one thing that would hurt me the most is if I get separated emotionally or spiritually from my daughters Svetlana and Alex. Sometimes they break out in tears, ‘don’t leave us, dad.“ - Mike

 

“In this evolution of spreading awareness about CTE, we can help other people, tell them that they are not bad, they are victims. It is a disease. It is brain damage.” - Kim

 

“One night I went on the air doing the sportscast totally asleep. That is a little scary. You do not think about being Mr. Superman. You do not know that part of you exists anymore. If you just gut it out, you are going to be ok.” - Mike

 

“What we have seen is an overall improvement of Mike’s quality of health in the last six to eight months. His memory and mood have improved.”  - Dr. Nandra, IV Solutions

 

“Mike’s my role model. I have learned to be more grateful and live in the moment…it is when he is at his worst, that I see his best.” - Kim

 

 

NOTE:  To assist patients and families who may be living with CTE, Mike and Kim have established their own not-for-profit organization – “The Mike Adamle Project: Rise Above” – a program of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.  For more information and/or to donate to “Rise Above,” fans are urged to visit GoFundMe.com/MikeAdamleProject.

 

 

NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and the NBC Sports Group, features over 275 live pro games in high definition each year.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago delivers extensive pre/post-game coverage for its core pro team partners, as well as Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs multi-platform coverage, plus - local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform, NBCSportsChicago.com, the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, and its variety of fan-focused social media outlets. Fans can follow the network on Twitter via @NBCSChicago.  

 

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 35 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago/NBC Sports Chicago+, and NBC Sports Northwest. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.