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Concussion expert & former WWE wrestler to visit Elon - Sept. 17

Harvard graduate Chris Nowinski made a name for himself in professional wresting, but when a head injury ended his career, he wrote a book and started a nonprofit with the mission of solving the sports concussion crisis.

Chris Nowinski

Former WWE wrestler Chris "Chris Harvard" Nowinski visits Elon University on Sept. 17 to speak with audiences about his research into traumatic brain injuries in a program co-sponsored by the student entrepreneurial group SEED and the Department of Exercise Science.

"Entrepreneurial Thinking in Science" featuring Chris Nowinski
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
6-8 p.m.
Lakeside Meeting Room

Professor Eric Hall in Elon University's Department of Exercise Science will also speak on the work he and his team have done with Elon BrainCARE, a program in Alamance County to assist coaches and schools with monitoring athletes for concussion symptoms.

For more information on the event, contact Elon senior Elizabeth Greenberg with the SEED program at egreenberg@elon.edu.

Nowinski today serves as co-founder and executive director of the Sports Legacy Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving the sports concussion crisis through education, policy, and research. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in behavioral neuroscience at Boston University School of Medicine.

From Nowinski's website:

"An All-Ivy defensive tackle for the Harvard University football team, after graduation, he began working for the life sciences consulting firm Trinity Partners, LLC. While there he decided to explore his passion for professional wrestling, and enrolled in wrestling school at night. Eighteen months later, in 2002, he debuted on WWE's flagship program 'Monday Night RAW.'

"Chris suffered a serious concussion in June 2003 but due to a lack of understanding, was not honest about his symptoms and continued to wrestle and work out for five weeks while symptomatic. He developed post-concussion syndrome and was forced to retire. It wasn’t until he visited the renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Cantu that Chris was first exposed to medical research that revealed to him that concussions and brain trauma were misunderstood in the sports world. Chris realized that this lack of awareness among athletes, coaches, and even medical professionals not only cost him his career, abut also threatened the health and well-being of athletes of all ages.

"This led him to write the critically acclaimed book Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis, published in 2006, in an effort to educate the world about this serious public health issue. In 2012, the book was adapted for the documentary film of the same name, Head Games, directed by Steve James, and the book was updated to coincide with the film’s release.

"In 2007, Chris co-founded SLI with Dr. Cantu to solve the sports concussion crisis through education, awareness, policy, and research. In 2008, SLI partnered with Boston University School of Medicine to found the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, the first research center in the world dedicated to the study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease associated with brain trauma."


Eric Townsend,
9/13/2013 10:55 AM