Ex-Wrestler: UK Youngsters Don't Know Enough About Head Injuries

Former WWE Star Voices Concerns About Lack Of Head Injury Awareness

10.03.2014

A talented athlete who was once on the books of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) believes young people in the UK need to learn more about the long-term implications of head injuries such as concussions.

In an interview with BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat, Chris Nowinski explained that many children are in the dark about brain injuries.

"The young brain is far more sensitive to brain trauma so when you're young your brain is changing very quickly," he was quoted as saying.

Mr Nowinski - a Harvard University graduate - knows all too well how much damage a blow to the head can cause.

He was forced to retire from wrestling in 2007 after suffering post-concussion syndrome following a bout in which he was kicked in the head.

Although it is widely renowned that wrestling is "fake" and the outcomes are scripted, it is not uncommon for the competitors to suffer serious injuries.
 
Mr Nowinski was also a talented American football player - another sport that has become synonymous with concussion.

There has been a great deal of debate in the past few months about whether NFL players are causing themselves long-term damage by taking part in the contact sport.

However, Mr Nowinski - who is 35 years old - insisted that other sports can be dangerous too.

"This isn't just an American football problem, this isn't just a boxing problem. All of these sports that involve a lot of brain trauma are putting athletes at risk," he continued.

The issue of concussion has been placed under the spotlight in recent months in Britain, with rugby governing body the RFU pledging to launch a new compulsory training and education system for professional players. There has also been talk about rule changes in football to ensure players are not allowed to compete after suffering a suspected concussion.

Mr Nowinski has helped to make a documentary entitled 'Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis', which premiered in London this week, and he highlighted the fact that regulations are in place in the US that dictate that youngsters are taught about head injuries.

He believes a similar system would benefit children in the UK.

Expert Opinion
Educating people about brain injuries and the devastating consequences they can have is extremely important, so if we can educate people from a very young age it is a very positive step in raising the awareness of brain injuries.

“There are many sports out there that can lead to head injuries and many of these sports including football and rugby are popular at schools and young adults. However, there are many other sports which are readily available for people to take part in and the dangers of possible concussion and what to do following a concussion need to be highlighted.

“The effect that serious head injuries can have on victims simply cannot be overstated as they are often misunderstood and can result in not only physical problems but emotional and mental issues.”
Stephen Nye, Partner