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Chris Borland retires from football due to concerns over head trauma; Do others share his concern?

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CALIFORNIA (WITI/AP) -- San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, who starred with the Wisconsin Badgers has announced he is retiring from football at the age of 24. Borland says he's concerned about the long-term effects of head trauma.

Borland told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" Monday, March 16th that he is retiring following his standout rookie season. Borland had a team-leading 108 tackles in his stellar rookie season, emerging as a punishing defender. He also had a sack and two interceptions.

He told "Outside the Lines" on Monday he wants to do "what's best for my health."

This is yet another blow to the team that lost coach Jim Harbaugh after the season, then watched Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox depart in free agency this past week.

Borland's big announcement comes less than a week after five-time All Pro linebacker Patrick Willis walked away from football.

Jon Schneider, the athletic director at Greendale's Martin Luther High School says he saw the announcement on Facebook.

"I went 'oh boy -- it's gonna be another battle with some of the parents and the misconceptions of how football is incredibly dangerous,'" Schneider said.

Schneider, who has spent time coaching fifth and sixth-grade level football for the high school's feeder league says the same head injuries that concern Borland also concern him -- but not only on the football field.

"As a school this year we had more concussions in soccer than we actually did in football, so we make sure everywhere -- from soccer, softball -- that every kid, coach and parent is aware that these things can happen," Schneider said.

To help reduce the risk, beginning this fall, Schneider says the school's football coaches will be trained in head injury prevention and recognition through a nationwide program known as "Heads Up."

"If a kid were to possibly sustain a head injury -- what do you do next? What's the proper steps?" Schneider said.

Additionally, those who coach all 18 Martin Luther High School sports will be trained to handle suspected head injuries.

"Volleyball, soccer, basketball -- even dance. Everybody that is a coach here at Martin Luther will be trained on what to look for and how to prevent concussions," Schneider said.

Schneider says it's not just any sport but anywhere on the school grounds that a concussion can occur. In fact, he says a couple years ago, a student in a cooking class was hit in the head by a cupboard door and suffered a concussion. He says that further underscores the importance to have people trained and ready to assess a student's injury anywhere in the school.

The NFL has issued this statement regarding Borland's announcement to retire:

"By any measure, football has never been safer and we continue to make progress with rule changes, safer tackling techniques at all levels of football, and better equipment, protocols and medical care for players. Concussions in NFL games were down 25 percent last year, continuing a three-year downward trend. We continue to make significant investments in independent research to advance the science and understanding of these issues.  We are seeing a growing culture of safety.  Everyone involved in the game knows that there is more work to do and player safety will continue to be our top priority."

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