On our break today, Dr. Kyle and I went to the Marcus cinema to see the new movie, Concussion. Concussion is the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian physician with an extraordinary education and competence, who identified the effects of repeated head trauma on the brain. The brain injury he identified is now named Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Dr. Omalu found, through direct observation of the brains of NFL football players, that although there was no obvious change in the presentation of the brains of these athletes, there was clear evidence of damage to the brain cells. This damage is linked to loss of memory, violent outbursts, confusion, dizziness, and poor decision making. Several of the injured players that Dr. Omalu examined for evidence of brain trauma had committed suicide.
This is a film whose time has come. Dr. Omalu, played with poise and power by Will Smith, has given us insight into the long ignored effects of repeated head trauma. Smith shows us with clear and brave intensity the kind of fortitude it takes to take a stand on behalf of a terrible situation, in this case factual but hidden brain damage, and refuse to back down. I’ve been disappointed by a few a few roles Smith has played in the last decade. In this case, I was not, and I hope he gets an Academy Award for his performance.
Concussion is fair to the NFL and respectful to a sport beloved by millions, and presents a challenging situation honestly, but not without force. Like the game of football itself, Concussion will impact its audience and gives us all a thoughtful glance at how we organize our entertainment, economy, and health care.
I hope you will make time to go see this excellent film, and follow up on what you learn by consulting your physicians, chiropractors, coaches, and reputable research.
Dr. Omalu is currently a professor of pathology and laboratory sciences at the University of California at Davis.
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Dr. Mike Saatkamp
Saatkamp Healing Arts