Chris Nowinski is a name that most pro wrestling fans seem to have fade in and out in their memories. But for WWE wrestling fans who truly know who he is, we know that Nowinski isn’t necessarily known for his in ring battles with colossal superstars. We know that Nowinski isn’t necessarily known for valiant Wrestlemania moments. We know that Nowinski is not known for collecting world titles all over the planet. However, what wrestling fans do know him for may be bigger than all of those accolades put together. The former Tough Enough (season 1) contestant has dedicated his life to bringing awareness publicly to the long-term effects of head trauma among athletes.
The Harvard alum who hails from Arlington Heights, Ill., is the co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) and the author of the book Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis. The book was published in October 2006, a little under one year after Nowinski left World Wrestling Entertainment. He is championed as a “concussion expert” because of his devoted dedication to this dangerous issue. Nowinski is currently making the media round right now regarding his comments he made on HBO Real Sports Show while discussing concussions in college football. He said:
“There is an incredible amount of money in college football right now. And the one place it doesn’t go is to the people suffering the brain injuries. And that is not right. The money was made off their backs. At least take care of them for the injuries they sustained, especially if you consider that the trade they made was for education. Well, I promise you that guy going to the concussion doctor, the education–or the guy with ALS–the education is not very useful.”
The days of “toughening it up” and keeping head injuries a secret are dying out as many athletes are starting to see the effects that head trauma creates in the future. Not only does brain trauma carry over into their professional careers, but their professional careers make the problem worse. So since the college football system generates an obscene amount of money for the school and the NCAA itself, why not use the money for treatment options for athletes?
This is what Nowinski has been campaigning for since the release of his book. Now the NCAA is taking a closer look at the idea. According to Business Week, a survey by Indianapolis-based Datalys Center showed the incidence of concussions in all three football divisions was 2.5 per 1,000 players who took the field for a game in the 2011-12 season as compared to 3.4 per 1,000 in 2004-05. So, the NCAA has taken a much more vested interest into this and concussions are on the decline.
Nowinski should be applauded for this efforts and dedication to his research because it truly has made a difference. Hewas very instrumental in working with researchers regarding the tragic double murder-suicide of former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit in 2007. While so much media focus was concentrated on whether or not steroids played a role in the incident, Nowinski worked to make sure the focus stayed on Benoit’s brain trauma.
Nowinski really has been a pioneer of making this discussion prevalent in all platforms.
Maurice D. Proffit is a Writer for Rant Sports