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Janie Nahshon and Michel Janie Heard, Michel Martin and Nahshon Ellerbe at NPR's live discussion on football in Dallas.

On the Tuesday before the Super Bowl, Trinity Christian Academy (TCA) senior Nahshon Ellerbe was part of a live panel discussion titled “Offense or Defense: Tackling the Ethics of Football, on the field and off” hosted by NPR’s Michel Martin.  Additional panelists included Melani Ismail, wife of former Cowboys Raghib “Rocket” Ismail and Nate Jackson, former Denver Bronco and author of  the book “Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile.” The event, which was held at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, was part of a larger national discussion on social media.

During the discussion, Nahshon, who plans to study and play for Rice University in the fall, explained that football is not for everyone, stating, “I think football is a violent sport by nature. You have bodies flying around full speed, but it’s not a sport for violent people. So, if you’re a violent person – if you have violent intentions – don’t pick up a football and think that’s going to be your way out.”

In addition to the panelists on stage, experts were contributing to the conversation in the audience and online. One element of the conversation was on frequent concussions and the long-term effects they can have on the health of a football player. Janie Heard, administrator at TCA and director of the school’s Academic Rehab program for concussed students, attended the event and discussed the school’s program with the audience.

“Our goal is to get them back to where they were academically before the brain injury," Janie said. "We don’t want students to work through their pain.”

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