Movie Review: Concussion

concussion
A movie poster for Concussion (2015).  Will Smith is shown here since he plays the lead role of Dr. Bennet Omalu.

Concussion is a 2015 movie that discusses the mental and physical health problems associated with concussions.  Dr. Bennet Omalu, played by Will Smith, is a forensic pathologist who performs an autopsy on former football player Mike Webster.  Webster suffered a heart attack, but upon further examination, Omalu found that Webster’s brain had a significant amount of damage to it.  He realized that this level of damage and deterioration could only be the result of repeated blows to the head.  Omalu called this ailment chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and he discovered that many other football players passed away with the same condition.  Omalu tries to bring his results to the NFL for consideration, but they deny all of his attempts to make this information public.  Three years later, the NFL finally decides that it is best to inform the players of what they are getting themselves into and that they understand the risks of CTE.  Are concussions going to be the end of American football as we know it?  And does the NFL have the players’ best interests in mind when it comes to their physical and mental well-being?

I have played soccer for most of my life, so I understand the impact concussions can have on someone’s athletic career.  I know many girls personally who were forced to stop playing because they suffered from too many concussions.  I also enjoy watching football quite a bit, so I am curious to see how the NFL plans to make adjustments to the game in order to make it less violent.

I know the symptoms of concussions as well as how long the recovery time usually is.  I’ve also noticed that concern for players’ safety in all sports has increased a lot over the past few years.  For example, some high schools are requiring all of their soccer players to wear concussion helmets in order to alleviate some of the effects of hard hits to the head.  In the years prior, nobody ever gave concussions much thought, except for the fact that they gave you a nasty headache.

I think that once Dr. Omalu presented his theory of CTE, society just decided that this must be the only answer.  I would like to see more intensive, and perhaps invasive, research being performed to see if hard hits during the game are actually causing a majority of the damage to the brain.  I also want to learn about some of the steps the NFL is taking to reduce the risk of brain injuries to the players, all the while maintaining the integrity of America’s most beloved sport.

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One thought on “Movie Review: Concussion

  1. Thank you for explaining CTE.
    A wonderful post–thoughtful and insightful.
    I hadn’t realized that soccer was so physical, and I never considered it a head-butting sport, well, except for players who bounce the ball off their heads. I didn’t think that happened often though. Thank you for educating me.

    Like

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