For the first time we see these athletes as complete humans and understand the complexity of everything they are dealing with on and off the court (so to speak) and how sport has become and is an integral part of their identity and sense of self-worth. Each episode is anchored by one primary athlete and a specific part of their brain health struggle. Additional athletes will share their stories, paralleling the central athlete, as a way to demonstrate the breadth and complexity of the brain health epidemic.
Inspired by her own experiences, Jenna Parker (former professional triathlete) will take the audience on a very personal, behind-the-scenes journey to get to know the person behind the athlete and the root of their individual struggle with brain health and sport. Together they will visit their personal hallowed ground or “churches” (local courts, school weight rooms, childhood streets, etc.) where we hear about the moments of struggle that shaped them. We will watch them train and move through their current life as they let us see into their very individual journey around brain health in sport.
As each episode ends, we are educated to the various brain health issues and the athlete’s courage to confront them. Our goal is to raise awareness to destigmatize the conversation so that other people can understand and ask for help.
DWYANE WADE: THE WAY OUT
(A) Introduction to Dwyane Wade (Former NBA) and his career achievements.
(B) Jenna meets Dwyane and goes with him to his "personal church". He talks about how he got his start in sport - his difficult childhood and how sport saved him from a life of drugs.
(C) Introduction to Jontel Evans (former UVA point guard) as he takes us to his "personal church" and talks about growing up in the '757' and playing Basketball at UVA.
(D) Dwyane takes us to a therapy session where he works through transitioning away from sport and finding a new purpose.
(E) Jenna talks to Dwyane about her own transition and the struggle she endured with depression and anxiety.
(F) We meet Clara Hughes at her "personal church" (first athlete to win multiple medals in summer/winter Olympics) and she talks about her troubled childhood.
(G) Jontel takes us to a day in his life now - teaching middle school PE. We ask his students what they know about Mr. Evans and what they'd like to be when they grow up.
(H) We meet Dwyane where he is now - in retirement - and learn about where he is focusing his energy now - Wade's World Foundation for at-risk kids as well as becoming an advocate in the African-American community for LGBTQ after his 11 year old son came out as gay.
(I) Jontel's family and friends, talk about growing up with him as a football/basketball star, his career and what it meant for all of them to grow up in the '757' zip code.
(J) We follow Clara as she speaks to an audience about her struggles, being very vocal about her depression and the stigma around brain health, especially in sport.
(K) Jenna sits down with a leading sport psychologist and they talk about the effect that adversity in childhood can have on not only the success of many athletes but also on potential brain health issues during and after sport.
GRACIE GOLD: THE COMEBACK KID
(A) Introduction to Gracie Gold (Olympic Figure Skater) and her career achievements.
(B) Jenna meets Gracie and goes with her to her "personal church". She tells us about her struggle with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder.
(C) Jenna shares some of her struggle with coaches calling her "fat" and asking her to lose weight.
(D) Gracie tells us that she went on to withdraw from the 2018 U.S. Championships to undergo treatment. After being treated, she began training again and lost more than 30 pounds as a result of healthier eating. Although she's not back where she wants to be yet, she is making a COMEBACK. We follow her journey...
(E) Jenna sits with one of the leading sport nutrition/psychologists to discuss the effect of weight shaming on brain health in female athletes.
(F) We follow Gracie through a typical day, a competition, and see how she has adapted and what she's doing to prevent herself from relapsing again. We go with her to her trainers, her therapists, to see her nutritionist etc.
(G) Jenna talks about what it took to find her way out and how she was able to find coaches who carried different, healthier, beliefs about body size in sport.
(H) Gracie opens up about her goals for the next few years and reflects back on what she wishes had been available to her.
(I) Jenna explores some of the non-profits, programs and resources that exist and speaks with a top sport psychologist on the root of the issue and how the conversation needs to change to end this piece of the epidemic.
Note: This episode, like all of the others, will center 90% on Gracie's story, but will find support and connection through other athlete's stories, like those of Katelyn Ohasi (Gymnastics) and Mike Marjama (MLB) who struggled with body issues and comebacks during their careers as well.
SKY BROWN : THE PRESSURES ON A PRODIGY
(A) Introduction to Sky Brown (11 year old British skateboarding phenom) and her decision to compete for UK instead of Japan ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
(B) Jenna meets with Sky and they go to her "personal church" where Sky tells Jenna about her start in skating and when she realized how good she was. (She won Bronze at the World Championships in September and is on track to be the youngest person to qualify for the Olympics in 50 years.)
(C) Jenna meets with tennis great Jennifer Capriati at her "personal church". Jennifer talks about her struggle with depression and the pressures of rising to stardom so young. She talks about when she started to tie her identity to her sport.
(D) Jenna meets with Calgary Flames goalie Tyler Parsons at his "personal church". He talks about wha tit was like to be drafted into the NHL, what his first season as a professional looked like and how he made the brave decision to speak up about his struggle with his brain health.
(E) Jenna sits with Jennifer Capriati and they discuss Sky's rise to stardom, as well as the likes of Coco Gauff (15 year old tennis phenom) and Tyler Parsons the parallels to her own life.
(F) We follow Tyler through a typical day of training as an NHL goalie. We see his routine and watch as he manages his physical and mental well being.
(G) We meet up with Sky at a world cup on her path to Tokyo 2020.
(H) Jenna meets up with Michael Phelps, well into retirement, and they discuss his struggle to find his identity out of sport after having so much success so young, and becoming something on an "American hero" before he was 20.
(I) Jenna talks to Skys parents and Tylers family as they explore the unique pressures on young athletes and how they manage and juggle them.
(J) Jenna sits with top sport psychologist about the impact of being a "prodigy" in sport and the unique challenges athletes face today that they didn't face 20 years ago.