sports medicine podcast

Podcast: How sports medicine and wellness connect


Jason Brayley, MD, and NBA coach Doug Christie discuss the evolving relationship between sports and medicine


A lot goes into helping athletes find and maintain peak performance. Whether a casual fitness seeker, weekend warrior, or professional athlete, achieving optimal physical performance means addressing multiple facets of well-being. The field of sports medicine is evolving with this in mind, paving the way for a holistic approach to training individuals adopted by doctors, coaches, and the competitors themselves.

Host Chris Grant, chief operating officer of The Permanente Federation, puts on his sports cap for this episode of the Permanente Medicine Podcast to discuss the intersection between athletics and medicine. With several notable pro athletes speaking out recently about mental health, Grant and his guests look at the mental and physical components of performing at one’s best, as well as how to set realistic fitness goals.

Grant is joined by 2 experts who offer expertise on the topic from both the physician and player-coach perspective.

  • Jason Brayley, MD, is medical director of Sports Medicine for The Permanente Medical Group and chief of Sports Medicine for Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento. He is also the team doctor for the Sacramento Kings and co-director of Kaiser Permanente’s Sports Medicine Center in Sacramento.
  • Doug Christie is an NBA coach and former player. Christie played for 7 teams over 14 NBA seasons, including 5 with the Sacramento Kings. He is currently an assistant coach with the Kings.

Dr. Brayley and Christie look at the fundamental connection between physical and mental health, as well as how high-profile athletes can use their platform to raise awareness and promote public conversation on the topic. They also share their unique perspectives on how the sports landscape has transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes everything from adopting new innovations to refocusing on important fundamental practices.

“One of the things the pandemic taught us is you need cutting edge science, but we also need to focus on the basics [such as hygiene, sleep, and hydration],” Dr. Brayley says. “Despite all the amazing advancements in science, that simplicity is actually sometimes the key to thinking about optimal health.”

Related story: “Permanente physicians help athletes adjust to a new playing field.”

When athletes choose to use their platform and stand up, there are so many people out there who are relieved because it’s been stigmatized for many years.

– Doug Christie


The interaction between sports performance and mental health is huge, and it’s a legitimate area that needs more focus and attention moving forward.

– Jason Brayley, MD

In this episode

2:21 Destigmatizing mental health in sports and pro athletes speaking out

7:03 How the COVID-19 pandemic changed team sports and attendance

11:44 Advice for individuals looking to improve their fitness

12:50 The importance of sleep

17:13 Learning how to perform under pressure

22:39 How Dr. Brayley and Christie maintain their own personal health

On Twitter, connect with Dr. Brayley at @jaybray1, Christie at @TheDougChristie, and Grant at @cmgrant. You can also hear Dr. Brayley speaking on this topic in this recent PermanenteDocs Chat.


Program notes:

The guests reference meditation and sleep as ways to manage one’s health. Kaiser Permanente members have access to Calm, a leading app for mindfulness meditation and sleep. Find it at

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