Athletes on mission to protect kids from concussions

Concussion symposium at Villanova University

March 15, 2013 3:12:49 PM PDT
Professional athletes met with doctors and lawyers at Villanova University on Friday morning to talk about how to better protect athletes, including young children, from concussions.

Former Philadelphia Eagle and Villanova graduate Brian Westbrook and former Flyer Keith Primeau shared their stories about concussions at a symposium on Friday morning.

Primeau suffered at least four documented concussions years ago and says, even today, he feels the effects.

"When you wake up every day and you don't feel well, you don't feel right, it takes its toll," he said.

Both players and other athletes at the symposium say despite not being completely healed, they returned to play.

Studies show this puts you at a greater risk for another concussion and may lead to long-term problems such as headaches, memory loss and depression.

Even though the NFL has made some changes, Westbrook says more needs to be done to educate coaches and trainers to take athletes out of play.

"You think you can play but sometimes you need a teammate, a coach a trainer to say enough is enough," Westbrook said.

He also urges athletes to take head injuries seriously.

"You need to sit down and think about how this is going to affect you not only today, tomorrow and next year but how it is going to affect you when you are 40 and 50 as well."

Primeau would like to see a grassroots effort to change the culture in youth sports to better protect kids.

"I don't know if I can convince a 25-year-old hockey player that if they are hurt they have to come out of the game, but I can take my 10-year-old and explain 'your health is far more important to me or anyone else than the game of hockey.'"

Primeau has even launched a website,, to help educate the public about concussions.