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Ex-lacrosse star Delby Powless writes about mental health in novel ‘Medicine Game’

Writing a novel is one of the hardest — but most cathartic — things former pro lacrosse player Delby Powless has ever done.

“Medicine Game” centres on Tommy Henry as he struggles with violent outbursts and addiction on the fictional Sparrow Lake Nation. Powless said that he wrote the novel as a way to open up about his own mental health struggles and pay tribute to friends he’s lost.

“This was by the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done,” said Powless. “It was really emotional to write about this stuff, not just because of my own things but because I was thinking about people that have passed, that aren’t with us anymore.”

Powless, who won the Tom Longboat Award as Canada’s top Indigenous athlete in 2003, spent his entire six-year career in the National Lacrosse League with the Buffalo Bandits. He played all levels of his junior and senior lacrosse for teams in Six Nations of the Grand River, Ont., and represented the Iroquois Nationals in international competition.

Even with his success as a lacrosse player, Powless said he struggled with his mental health and opening up to friends and teammates.

That began to change when Powless read “Playing With Fire,” a memoir by former NHLer Theo Fleury. Powless said Fleury’s memoir made him realize he was not alone and that opening up could help him and his readers.

“This was my way of coming out to let people know what I’ve gone through mental-health wise,” the 40-year-old Powless said. “I had kept stuff inside of me for 30, 35 years.”

In the short time “Medicine Game” has been out, Powless said he’s received a lot of positive feedback, especially from other Indigenous men, who have told him it’s encouraged them to be more open.

“They bought it because they thought it was about lacrosse and they start reading it and they start realizing how it’s about the rez and the mental health stuff and the history of residential schools and other things they could relate to,” said Powless.

Lacrosse was played by the Haudenosaunee — known in French as the Iroquois and in English as the Six Nations — thousands of years before Europeans arrived in North America. Sometimes called the Creator’s Game or the Medicine Game, many First Nations people believe that playing lacrosse can heal them spiritually and physically.

Powless, who is now a child and youth counselor in the Six Nations community, said that the camaraderie he — and his protagonist — feels when playing lacrosse is an experience he wanted to convey to his readers.

“When I was going through a really rough time, one of my coaches texted me that he hoped to see me back at the rink because lacrosse is good medicine,” said Powless. “That stuck with me, just to think of it that way.

“Just to get out there and be around the boys is helpful to people and their well-being.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov.

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medicine

Ex-lacrosse star Delby Powless writes about mental health in novel ‘Medicine Game’

Writing a novel is one of the hardest — but most cathartic — things former pro lacrosse player Delby Powless has ever done.

“Medicine Game” centres on Tommy Henry as he struggles with violent outbursts and addiction on the fictional Sparrow Lake Nation. Powless said that he wrote the novel as a way to open up about his own mental health struggles and pay tribute to friends he’s lost.

“This was by the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done,” said Powless. “It was really emotional to write about this stuff, not just because of my own things but because I was thinking about people that have passed, that aren’t with us anymore.”

Powless, who won the Tom Longboat Award as Canada’s top Indigenous athlete in 2003, spent his entire six-year career in the National Lacrosse League with the Buffalo Bandits. He played all levels of his junior and senior lacrosse for teams in Six Nations of the Grand River, Ont., and represented the Iroquois Nationals in international competition.

Even with his success as a lacrosse player, Powless said he struggled with his mental health and opening up to friends and teammates.

That began to change when Powless read “Playing With Fire,” a memoir by former NHLer Theo Fleury. Powless said Fleury’s memoir made him realize he was not alone and that opening up could help him and his readers.

“This was my way of coming out to let people know what I’ve gone through mental-health wise,” the 40-year-old Powless said. “I had kept stuff inside of me for 30, 35 years.”

In the short time “Medicine Game” has been out, Powless said he’s received a lot of positive feedback, especially from other Indigenous men, who have told him it’s encouraged them to be more open.

“They bought it because they thought it was about lacrosse and they start reading it and they start realizing how it’s about the rez and the mental health stuff and the history of residential schools and other things they could relate to,” said Powless.

Lacrosse was played by the Haudenosaunee — known in French as the Iroquois and in English as the Six Nations — thousands of years before Europeans arrived in North America. Sometimes called the Creator’s Game or the Medicine Game, many First Nations people believe that playing lacrosse can heal them spiritually and physically.

Powless, who is now a child and youth counselor in the Six Nations community, said that the camaraderie he — and his protagonist — feels when playing lacrosse is an experience he wanted to convey to his readers.

“When I was going through a really rough time, one of my coaches texted me that he hoped to see me back at the rink because lacrosse is good medicine,” said Powless. “That stuck with me, just to think of it that way.

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“Just to get out there and be around the boys is helpful to people and their well-being.”

This report by The

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health

US should consider national mask mandate for the winter, former FDA commissioner writes in op-ed

As the US reports its second-highest day of new Covid-19 cases amid the continuing fall surge, a former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration says it may be time for a national mask mandate.



Alice Arnold wearing a hat: Salt Lake County Health Department public health nurses look on during coronavirus testing outside the Salt Lake County Health Department Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)


© Rick Bowmer/AP
Salt Lake County Health Department public health nurses look on during coronavirus testing outside the Salt Lake County Health Department Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Scott Gottlieb wrote the mandate could be “limited and temporary.”

“A mandate can be expressly limited to the next two months,” Gottlieb wrote, adding that it’s easier to wear a mask in the winter than the summer. “The inconvenience would allow the country to preserve health-care capacity and keep more schools and businesses open.”

With deaths expected to rise this winter, policymakers will have to make moves to slow the spread, Gottlieb wrote. There already is no support for reinstating the stay-at-home orders from the spring.

If 95% of Americans wore masks in public, more than 100,000 lives could be saved in the United States through February, according to data released Friday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

“If people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Friday.

Gottlieb wrote the concern about needing fines to enforce the mandate leading to confrontations with police isn’t necessarily true.

“States should be able to choose how to enforce a mandate, but the goal should be to make masks a social and cultural norm, not a political statement,” he wrote. “Mandating masks has become divisive only because it was framed that way by some politicians and commentators.”

Gottlieb was appointed FDA commissioner by President Trump and served from May 2017 to May 2019. He is now a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC.

Saturday saw 83,718 new Covid-19 cases, just 39 cases shy of the all-time record that was reported Friday. Already, national cases total more than 8.6 million and 225,212 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins.

“We’re at a dangerous tipping point right now,” Gottlieb told Margaret Brennan Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We’re entering what’s going to be the steep slope of the curve, of the epidemic curve.”

Social gatherings and family events moving indoors to avoid the colder weather is largely to blame for the high rates of spread, officials said over the weekend.

In Maryland, the governor said this week family gatherings were the No. 1 source of transmission in the state, followed by house parties. In North Carolina, health officials reported its highest daily case count Friday and said they continue to see clusters “from social and religious gatherings.”

At least 35 states report rise in cases

The Florida Department of Health on Sunday reported 2,385 additional coronavirus cases and

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