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By Ken Reed

A new documentary called Head Games increases awareness and understanding of the concussion crisis in sports, while at the same time advocating safety measures to help prevent the devastating effects of brain trauma among the next generation of athletes. The film is based on a book of the same title, written by Chris Nowinski and published in 2006. Nowinski, a former WWE wrestler and football player at Harvard, suffered numerous concussions during his sports career. The brain injuries forced his early retirement and led to multiple lingering symptoms he deals with today. He currently serves as co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease that results from multiple blows to the head.

Zorianna Kit wrote an excellent review of the documentary in the Huffington Post.

Kit writes about a compelling scene from the film that points out how clueless we remain as a society regarding the seriousness of brain trauma with athletes.

“The most jaw-dropping scene involves Nowinski giving a talk at a high school about the effects of concussions,” writes Kit. “The school’s football coach had the audacity to schedule a mandatory weight lifting session to make sure his players couldn’t attend the symposium. Meanwhile the school’s athletic trainer verbally attacks Nowinski for “scaring” all the parents. In a complete show of ignorance, the trainer admits to firmly believing that his own 10-year-old daughter, who plays soccer and complains of headaches after heading the ball, is not exhibiting symptoms of a concussion, but that it’s all just “part of the game.”

It shouldn’t be “all just part of the game.” Head Games is another important vehicle for extending the important message about brain trauma in sports to all sports stakeholders.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans

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