TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

So, Whaddya Think?

“Concussion” Now in Theaters


David Figurski and Donna O’Donnell Figurski


(Note: This is our second opinion essay about Dr. Bennet Omalu and his research with brain trauma. The first was published on this blog on December 17th.)

So Whaddya Think Brain th-4The much-anticipated movie, Concussion (trailer), is making current and former players of American football, their families, parents, fans, and coaches think about what is really happening in a sport that has become a large part of American culture. The movie has the same goal as we in the brain-injury community have – greater awareness of the delicate Concussion Movie 2.jpgnature of the brain and the ramifications of brain damage. The movie was released on Christmas Day, but it has made much news before its release.

The movie, which unsurprisingly is not sanctioned by the National Football League (NFL), tells the true story of the Nigerian pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, and his discovery of the relationship of a neurodegenerative disease, which Dr. Omalu named “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” (CTE), and American football. Dr. Omalu studied the brain of Hall-of-Fame center, Mike Webster,


Mike Webster – Pittsburgh Steeler Pro Football Hall of Fame

who died at age 50 homeless and with dementia. As shown in the Frontline documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis (available free online), the movie shows how the multibillion-dollar NFL didn’t want to hear of Dr. Omalu’s discovery. The league’s questionable committee on concussions immediately attacked Dr. Omalu. It is a classic “David-vs.-Goliath” story.

David & Goliath.jpg

David & Goliath

(Dr. Omalu said in his Frontline interview, “You can’t go against the NFL. They’ll squash you.”) Former players have sued the NFL, arguing that the NFL knew of the dangers to the brain, but didn’t inform the players. In a class-action lawsuit, the NFL has recently settled for approximately $1 billion in medical expenses, but that settlement is being appealed by former players as inadequate.

Concussion Movie

Dr. Bennet Omalu – pathologist – discovered CTE with Actor, Will Smith

Will Smith plays Dr. Omalu in Concussion. Will Smith, a former football fan whose son played high school football, recently admitted that he has not watched a full game of football since he made this movie. Peter Landesman, the movie’s director, played football into his sophomore year of college, but, knowing what he knows now, he would not let his children play the game.

The movie is a “must-see.” (video)


So, Whaddya Think?

Let’s get a dialogue going. Post your comments in the Comment Section. Directions are below.

So . . . what do you think? Is there something you are passionate about in this Brain Injury (BI) world? Do you want to be heard? Your opinion matters! You can SPEAK OUT! on “So Whaddya Think?”

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Comments on: "So, Whaddya Think? “Concussion” Now in Theaters" (5)

  1. Very interesting


  2. Ken Collins said:

    After watching Concussion yesterday, it helped me see why there is little said within the brain injury community about the congressional investigation of the head injury rehabilitation industry in 1990. The industry wants that information buried so they can continue to exploit people with brain injuries today. At $1,200 a day and up for their services the brain injury industry is not motivated to change anything just like the NFL. What is sad is that people with brain injuries don’t seem to question anything the industry does just like NFL fans who don’t want to hear the truth about the NFL. Back in the day we took on the National Head Injury Foundation and the industry. We got a congressional investigation and the FBI raided and shut down New Medico. New Medico moved to Florida and became the Florida Institute of Neuro Rehabilitation (FINR). The only difference between what we did then and what is going on now is that people with brain injuries in leadership positions lining themselves with the industry by ignoring what we did and are now reinventing a brain injury history that leaves out the most important part. Believe me we had a robust advocacy group of people with brain injuries from all over the country. We weren’t afraid to speak up for what was wrong and weren’t used by a self-serving industry who only cares about the money it makes by exploiting the vulnerable people it serves.


    • Ken, what a thoughtful comment! I’m afraid what drives this country in so many different forms is MONEY. That’s the bottom line. It doesn’t make a difference if folks’ lives are affected. The NFL is a great example of that. It’s obvious football and other violent contact sports are responsible for many players having brain injury. It’s not rocket science! In fact, I think it is common sense. Yet we still have players playing and parents signing up their unsuspecting children to step in the den with the lions. It reminds me of ancient Roman gladiators. I never thought that made sense either.

      Do you know Daniel Mollino? He is working very hard to get some legislation for brain injury in Washington. I will put you in touch with him. Together you may make a dent. We need dedicated people like you and Daniel.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


  3. Brie Bourn said:

    I watched it yesterday with my mom (& we were the only ones there!). Verclempt! I have to watch it more thoroughly in the future.


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