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Health: Former Wrestlers Speak With Students At Local School About The Dangers Of Head Injuries

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Concussions among student athletes have increased 60 percent in the last decade, according to federal health officials.

Now, one school on the Main Line is working to change the trend and today held a special session with some seasoned veterans.

Some former wrestlers talked to high school students about the dangers of head injuries.

Among the lessons: you don't need to be knocked out to have a concussion.

Students at the Shipley School are learning the facts about head injuries from medical experts and former world wrestling stars.

Chris Nowinski says, "I got involved the wrong way." Nowinski played football at Harvard and then turned to professional wrestling, where he suffered a concussion, but continued wrestling.

He says, "It did so much additional damage that I had five years of post-concussion syndrome and I'll never be the same."

Now he's on a mission to explain the dangers of concussions to young athletes, who often will ignore or dismiss symptoms to keep playing.

"The long term effects of unreported concussions are very serious," Nowinski says.

Athletic director Mark Duncan says Shipley athletes are now using this new headband sensor that collects data on head injuries. Shipley also banned head butting in middle school soccer.

Duncan says, "The goal is to have less impact for kids at an early age so anything we can do to eliminate those hits, especially age 14 and younger, is something that we support."

Senior Brandon Peltz played on the varsity soccer team. He says, "Instead of doing a header, I'll take it down with my legs or with my chest or something. I'll do that first, but yeah, you gotta keep your brain intact."

The message going out to students athletes everywhere is it's not alright to play through your injuries.

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