Athletes turn to magic mushrooms to treat traumatic brain injuries

In a resort in Jamaica, athletes are finding solutions that Western medicine has missed.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Magic mushrooms.jpg
Magic mushrooms.


A new report published Friday on ESPN is highlighting how injured athletes are taking an unusual road to treat their traumatic brain injuries. As Western science has failed them they are turning to magic mushrooms.

The mushrooms and therapy sessions are provided in Jamaica in the Good Hope Estate, a sugar plantation turned exclusive resort that claims to help those that prescription medication cannot.

The program is run by a Canadian company called Wake Network.

"When you're in pain and you're stuck in a corner, you'll do anything to get out of it," a former boxer and visitor of the new treatment center Mike Lee said.

Meanwhile, Riley Cote, a former enforcer with the Philadelphia Flyers and now a psychedelics evangelist who is an adviser to Wake, also shared his story.

"I fought everyone and their brother in my career," Cote said. "I would pick out the biggest guy I could find and challenge him. It was how I survived, how I made a name for myself. I was inflicting all this pain and inflammation on myself, always getting punched in the face, and I had to keep up with this macho type of personality, like, 'Oh, you can't hurt me. You can't hurt me.'"

Cote however has now changed thanks partially to psychedelic mushrooms which he credits with bringing him back into the light.

A world in crisis

"The world is in a crisis, a mental health crisis, a spiritual crisis," Cote said. "And I think these are spiritual medicines, and I just feel like it's the right path for me. I don't think of it as anything more than my duty, my purpose on this planet is to be sharing the truth around natural medicine."

However, scientists do state that the research on the substances is still at its early stages and practitioners should proceed with caution.

Lee, on the other hand, did find his way at the resort.

"I came away from it kind of realizing that I have all the tools to heal myself," he told ESPN. "That's huge. Because, especially for guys who have had concussions or athletes or what have you, you feel kind of isolated, you feel alone, you feel hopeless. So it kind of gives you a sense of hope."