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Shipley School, in Bryn Mawr, Keeping Spotlight on Sports Concussion Dangers

By Mike DeNardo

BRYN MAWR, Pa. (CBS) — Avoiding concussions among young athletes was the focus of a daylong discussion today at a Main Line school that is addressing the issue head-on.

The talk at the Shipley School — a private, preK-through-12 school in Bryn Mawr — was about how to recognize concussion symptoms among young athletes and how to avoid them.

Chris Nowinski — a former pro wrestler and Harvard football player — can tell you all about them.

“A day didn’t go by where I didn’t have headaches,” he told the group today.  “I had issues with depression.  I developed sleepwalking every night, so I had to be sedated when I slept.  My memory was terrible.  It was a really rough go for me.”

Shipley has just become one of the first schools in the nation to ban “heading” among its middle school soccer players.

And Nowinski says the stay-on-the-field culture among young athletes needs to change.

“You walk a fine line,” he notes, “because you’re trying to make these kids ‘tough.’  You’re trying to get them to be resilient. You’re trying get them to get that idea of, ‘I can get knocked down, I can lose, but I can get back up and compete again.’  But what we haven’t done is a good job of carving out specific injuries you never want to mess with.”

Nowinski, through his Boston-based Sports Legacy Institute, now speaks about the dangers of ignoring sports head injuries.

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