Sunday, August 7, 2016

Concussion 2015

     This film is based on the true story and also on a 2009 magazine article about Dr. Bennet Omalu and his battle with the NFL over football related brain trauma.  Dr. Omalu is a forensic neuropathologist with many degrees and he is working on autopsies in Chicago.  When popular former Steeler player Mike Webster commits suicide, Dr. Omalu spends his own funds for a laboratory analysis of Mike’s brain tissue.  He finds that constant injury to the brain leads to the problems many of the former pro players are displaying.  The truth of their complaints can’t be verified until they die.  The NFL wants no part of this truth and they deny all the claims and evidence provided by Dr. Omalu.
      Unfortunately, it took more Steeler players dying from suicide to make the NFL see that this is a real problem and it’s not going away.  In 2011, NFL players sued the league for not informing them of the risk of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).  The human brain doesn’t have cushions in the skull to absorb the shock of blunt trauma.  Tackling and beating helmets together causes the brain to move back and forth rapidly in the skull with unseen damage.  The players suffered from homelessness, memory loss, diagnosis with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, hearing voices and they suffered from severe headaches.  None of the many drugs and treatments they were offered relieved any of their problems.  I thought this was good and Dr. Omalu was strong enough to remain true to this cause despite formidable pressure.  The NFL is a powerful force with a lot of money.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

123 min, Bio directed by Peter Landesman with Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Arliss Howard, Mike O’Malley, Eddie Marsan, Hill Harper, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 61% critic 75% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 1054 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  There is a mistake with the car Dr. Omalu drives.  It’s a Mercedes Benz E350 and this model was not available until 2006 but the time frame is 2002.  Originally the diagnosis was ‘punch-drunk’ because boxers were the first to suffer this disease.  Later many sports were found to cause these injuries.  In 2015 and 2016, some players retired early because of the health risk of concussions.

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