“Concussion”—A Powerful Medical Thriller Starring Will Smith
Dramatizes the Fight Between Dr. Bennet Omalu, A Forensic Pathologist and The National Football League [NFL] --Over The Issue of Extensive Brain Damage Caused by the Game of Football.
This year, a few films have been both extremely entertaining and highly instructive. “Concussion” along with “Spotlight” are two such films. “Concussion” depicts the battle that Nigerian born Forensic Pathologist, Dr Bennet Omalu, had against the corrupt money behemoth, the NFL, over his untoward findings that football is extremely dangerous for the players’ health. In fact, it is so dangerous that many of the well-known players like the Pittsburgh’s Steelers, Mike Webster, Dave Dueson, Justin Strzelczyk all died from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy [CTE].
The movie, both written and directed by the talented Peter Landesman, shows the underlying tension between a forensic pathologist, brilliantly played by Will Smith and the representatives of the NFL [Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson]. The NFL tried for years to cover up Dr. Omalu’s scientific findings that football caused concussions which led to suicides because these accurate pathological findings would eventually destroy the lucrative, corrupt NFL; a multi-billion dollar business.
“Concussion” should be seen by all mothers and fathers who may be thinking about their sons playing the seemingly harmless, macho sport of football. The damage that football body contact induces is massive. Yet unlike most car injuries, or other accidents, one cannot detect the initial neurological changes on a CAT Scan, or MRI. Usually the damage occurs at the histological level where healthy neurons are severely compromised and are transformed into a form of amyloid protein plaques. Those protein particles in turn lead to psychological changes which manifest itself in a wide array of symptoms: depression, anger, self-destructive behavior, and suicide.
Dr Omalu’s findings were denied by the NFL which has mega-billions of dollars invested in covering up Omalu’s findings; forcing him and his lovely wife, Premo Mutiso [played by Gugu Mbatha –Raw], out of Pittsburgh to Lodi, California. Another notable actor was Albert Brooks; who played Smith’s boss, Dr Cyril Wecht; a sardonic physician who teaches his protege to go with the punches [so to speak].
I recommend this film. It’s both entertaining and highly instructive to all parents and adults who play football or any other contact sport. Equally important, I would strongly recommend the Iraqi/Afghanistan War Veterans who are suffering from PTSD see this film. It is my personal opinion that many of these veterans are suffering from a form of neurological damage akin to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. An IED, or any other type of explosion, is the equivalent of a major body blow that invariably injures the neurological system.
Back to the film, David Morse, the perennial character actor, should be considered for a Best Supporting Role for his amazing portrayal of the self-destructive football Steeler, Mike Webster. Movies are meant to entertain. However, when they offer an insight into a popular sport like football, one must pay special attention to what that film has to say.
“Concussion” is literally a ‘knock out’ film!