Concussion (The Film)


The poster for a 2013 of the same name.
The poster for a 2013 of the same name.













Will Smith stars in the new film CONCUSSION, based on a 2009 exposé in GQ magazine, about a South African doctor named Bennet Omalu and his discovery of a disease called CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Previously known as “dementia pugilistica,” CTE results from blows to the head over a period of time that cause traumatic brain injury, whose cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms do not become noticeable until years later. Along with his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Omalu was the first to publish findings about NFL football players in America (“Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy in an NFL Football Player,” Neurosurgery, 2005) , conducting an independent and self-financed autopsy of the brain of a deceased offensive lineman, whose brain looked normal at first but contained large accumulations of tau protein, also associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The tragic suicides of beloved athletes such as Junior Seau, who suffered from the disease, Unfortunately, definitive tests can only be made post-mortem, and the NFL, with a record $13 billion in revenue this year, is a classic American institution, as ignorant, greedy, and morally corrupt as the United States Congress. The film is directed by Ridley Scott (see Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, and The Martian) and also features Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson, Albert Brooks, and Arliss Howard.

About the author

Ben Ehrlich

Ben Ehrlich's new book "The Dreams of Santiago Ramón y Cajal" will be published by Oxford University Press in 2016. Ben is a 2015 Salzburg Global Seminar fellow in Neuroscience and Art.

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  • In a modern world in which the NFL continues to try and sweep CTE and its effects under the rug, Will Smith’s portrayal of Dr. Omalu in ‘Concussion’ made that a bit more difficult. At the core of it all, it is obvious that data exists pointing to the danger of CTE. However, embracing this link too strongly will greatly hinder the NFL’s future potential. Watching Ridley Scott and Will Smith come together and create an amazing movie all while perhaps forcing the NFL to finally take responsibility for a debilitating issue? I don’t know if it gets more productive than that in Hollywood.

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