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What are High Schools Doing to Protect Athletes?

10 am TODAY on Focus: Head injuries are a hot topic right now in the world of professional sports. But what are high schools in our area doing to keep their athletes safe?

Monticello High School football players at practice

Monticello High School football players at practice

The longterm effects of multiple concussions in NFL football players has been increasingly reported by the media, especially after a $765 million settlement between the NFL and its former players this summer. But concussions have serious risks at all levels of play.

Host Jim Meadows talks with Randy Moss, athletic director at Monticello High School. Moss says in Monticello, football culture inspires a special kind of community and making it especially important for coaches, players and parents to take the risk of concussions pose seriously. We’ll hear about new rules the Illinois State High School Association has implemented in the interest of player safety and will hear from Adam Tarr, an athletic trainer who works with students to make sure concussions can be diagnosed and treated properly.

Meadows also talks with Chris Nowinski, co-founder and executive director of the Sports Legacy Institute in Boston. Nowinski is author of the book “Head Games” and is a former NCAA college football player and former WWE professional wrestler. A concussion ended his career in the WWE where he played the character “Chris Harvard,” and shortly after his retirement from professional sports, he became invested in educating athletes about a condition called CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that is believed to be a result of multiple concussions.  Nowinski is interviewed in the PBS Frontline documentary League of Denial about the NFL and concussions, airing at 8 pm Tuesday, Oct. 8, on WILL-TV.