Changing the game: Minimising head trauma in sport
Dr. Chris Nowinski is a social entrepreneur leading a global conversation on concussions, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and the future of sports.
Dr. Nowinski is co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF), a non-profit organisation leading the fight against concussions and CTE in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia.
Dr. Nowinski is also the co-founder and visionary behind the acclaimed Boston University CTE Center and VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, which has changed how the world views the long-term effects of head impacts in sports.
An All-Ivy Harvard football player-turned WWE professional wrestler-turned neuroscientist, Chris discovered the concussion crisis the hard way when a 2003 kick to the chin in a WWE match ended his promising career, causing post-concussion syndrome. At the time, Chris had already been the youngest Hardcore Champion in the history of the WWE and had been named 2002 Newcomer of the Year by WWE Magazine.
His experience was the spark that inspired Chris to commit his life to serving patients and families who share similar experiences and ensuring a safer future for the next generation of athletes. Dr. Nowinski first wrote the investigative expose Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis in 2006, co-founded CLF in 2007, and co-founded the Boston University (BU) CTE Center and VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank in 2008, where he serves as the Outreach, Recruitment, Education, and Public Policy Leader.
Dr. Nowinski created the first athlete brain donation program in the world, tracking obituaries daily and calling families only hours after the death of a loved one to arrange brain donation. In 2020, the Brain Bank reached over 1,000 brains donated.
Dr. Nowinski earned his doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience from Boston University School of Medicine and has authored over 30 scientific publications. He serves on the NFL Players Association Mackey-White Health & Safety Committee, the Ivy League Concussion Committee, Positive Coaching Alliance National Advisory Board, and as an advisor to All-Elite Wrestling.
Dr. Nowinski is an Eisenhower Fellow, a program which identifies, empowers and connects innovative leaders to pursue projects that create positive impact across sectors and borders to make the world more peaceful, prosperous and just. Chris is a frequent speaker on various aspects of brain trauma, and since 2004 he has spoken over 400 times at universities, conferences, high schools, and sports organisations around the world.