The latest episode on ESPN E60 looks at the use of psychedelics in treating mental health conditions for athletes. The episode, titled Peace of Mind, debuted on April 22, 2023, and was directed and produced by Blake Foeman. The segment focuses on sports, healing and the use of alternative medicines, featuring former Canadian professional ice hockey player, Riley Cote, who has been vocal about the benefits of psychedelics.
Cote, who was with the Philadelphia Flyers at the time, scored his only goal against the Montreal Canadiens in February 2008. However, he was involved in many physical altercations during games, which affected him mentally as well as physically. The former left winger has credited psychedelics for helping him manage the mental struggles he faced.
In addition to openly speaking about his treatment, Cote has revealed that he would like to help other athletes with similar issues.
For this episode, KFF Health News and E60 were afforded unrestricted access to follow Cote and a group of other retired athletes as they took part in a psychedelic retreat in Jamaica. The objectives of the retired professionals were to address mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The retreat involved the administration of psilocybin, which is a hallucinogenic chemical found in magic mushrooms. By the end of their time at the retreat, each participant reported feeling hopeful.
Numerous studies have found that this substance may be useful in the treatment of mental health conditions, including treatment-resistant depression.
Markian Hawryluk of KFF Health News and Kevin Van Valkenburg also explored the advantages and drawbacks of psychedelics as medical treatments and their impact on the general public as well as the history of the drugs in the U.S.
Additionally, Hawryluk looked into the science around psychedelics, as interest in the drugs grows in America.
During the episode, the reporters also spoke to:
- assistant professor Albert Garcia-Romeu of Johns Hopkins Psychedelic Research
- director of clinical research programs at Sheppard Pratt Scott Aaronson
- retired professional boxer Mike Lee
- former CFL and NFL player Justin Renfrow
- former NHL player Steve Downie
- Gul Dofen, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University
- psychologist and psychedelic researcher Jeff LaPratt
- director of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development Daniel Weinberger
- Jessie Uehling, a mycologist at Oregon State University
- cofounder Wake Network Tyler Macleod
The program can be accessed on ESPN+ as well as on other ESPN networks.
Such programs do a good job of breaking down the science behind what various startups like Field Trip Health Ltd. (OTC: FTHWF) (TSX: FTHW) are doing in their efforts to eventually commercialize psychedelic treatments.
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