Doc Wayne Launches ‘The Champions Network’ Training Portal in Response to Requests for Innovative Sport-Based Mental Health Therapies

As mental health concerns mount, trauma-informed curriculum enables community leaders such as teachers and clinicians worldwide to harness the power of sport to improve mental health 

BOSTON (October 6, 2020)Doc Wayne Youth Services (“Doc Wayne”), a Boston nonprofit that fuses sport and therapy to heal and strengthen at-risk youth, is pleased to announce The Champions Network training platform. The online resource provides guidance on fundamental and trauma-informed mental health skills that leverage sport-and-community-based therapies. The skills are supportive to the work of community organizations and individuals around the world such as teachers, coaches, religious leaders and clinicians.

The Champions Network is available as the medical community’s concerns escalate due to the enduring trauma and stress children are experiencing during the pandemic, which could dramatically affect their brains and other critical body systems, and as a result, their health across a lifetime. The specialized curriculum, which offers 24/7 training via videos and instructor-led sessions, both live and recorded, includes:

The Champions Network Curriculum

  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Mental Health 101 for Coaches & Sport-Based Youth Development Professionals
  • Creating Champions Level 1 – Coach & Clinician Track
  • Coaching & Consultation on Mental Health, Sport, Trauma-Informed Care & Re-Entry to Play  

“Doc Wayne’s approach to mental health is incredibly novel and effective,” said Brian Bilello, member of the Board of Directors for Boston Scores, an organization using the platform, and president of the New England Revolution. “The evidenced-based reporting certainly substantiates that, but I’ve also witnessed it myself. Given the mental health effects associated with the pandemic, this training couldn’t come at a more imperative time.”

The Champions Network is founded on Doc Wayne’s award-winning programs, which take place in a gym or on a field (virtually during the pandemic) versus a clinical setting, where clinicians known as “coaches” engage with youth ages 5-18. This approach fosters openness and trust, and enables the development of new skills and learning teamwork, with the benefits of physical activity.

The Champions Network aims to:

  • Extend Doc Wayne’s reach across the country and the globe
  • Connect and support community leaders facing challenges around mental health through

the language of sports

  • Professionalize sports-based therapy

“While we’ve consistently had inquiries about our model and training over the years, unsurprisingly, the number has escalated dramatically as the impact of COVID-19 on mental health has taken hold,” commented David Cohen, CEO of Doc Wayne. “Organizations from as far as Namibia in South Africa, where access to mental health clinicians can be limited, have reached out to us. We’re glad we can now be an ongoing resource for them.” He concluded, “Furthermore, we look forward to releasing a formal sport-based therapy certification program in 2021.”

To promote and track social emotional development in its youth, Doc Wayne utilized the PEAR Institute’s Holistic Student Assessment (HSA). Using this tool, participants (n=95) from the 2018-19 school year self-reported positive change in many key life skills including: 92% in action orientation, 81% in perseverance, and 77% in relationships with peers. Evaluation measures have confirmed Doc Wayne’s programming develops resilient and thoughtful leaders.

Doc Wayne was formed by Susan Wayne in 2002 in memory of her brother Dr. Eli Wayne, a pediatrician and a tremendous supporter of using sport as a medium for positive youth development. It became a 501(c)(3) in 2010. 

About Doc Wayne

Doc Wayne delivers sport-based group/individual therapy and 1-on-1 therapeutic mentoring services for youth (ages 5-18) that face difficulties associated with mental health, chronic trauma and domestic or community violence. Engaging with kids in a gym or on a field vs. a clinical setting fosters openness and

trust, enabling the development of new skills and learning teamwork, with the benefits of physical activity. Its Chalk Talk® program combines clinical work with sports, where clinicians, referred to as “coaches,” travel to schools, community centers and residential treatment settings to ensure accessibility. Telehealth is being used during the pandemic and will continue thereafter in conjunction with in-person activities to expand access. The program is offered in 23 locations within the Greater Boston and MetroWest regions – with some programs embedded into the curricula of local school districts.





Heidi Boie