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Actor Will Smith will star in a movie called Concussion to be released on Christmas Day, 2015. The movie promises to shed light on the NFL’s efforts to hide the dangers of head injury from its players.
In 2013, five thousand former NFL players and their families sued the league for hiding the dangers of repeated concussions from them, putting them at risk of a lifetime of disability and medical problems. Earlier this year, a federal judge approved the settlement of that lawsuit as a class action – awarding damages to all NFL players with diagnosed head injuries.
The lawsuit was based in part on the research of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian-born neuropathologist. Dr. Omalu performed autopsies on several deceased football players revealing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive disease resulting from repeated head trauma. CTE patients run the risk of Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or dementia, and can sometimes lead to depression and even suicide.
Now, Dr. Omalu’s story is hitting the big screen. Hollywood heavy-hitter Will Smith has taken on the doctor’s cause, and is bringing light to one of the biggest cover-ups in brain injury history. Concussion, produced by Sony Pictures, shows how the NFL tried to get Dr. Omalu to leave his head injury research alone, and to keep quiet about the harm done by repeated head trauma.
The Nation’s David Zirin believes this tell-all documentary could put NFL Football Commissioner Roger Goodell on edge:
The NFL spent decades infantilizing the public and denying parents the informed consent about the dangers of the game. Science is not a friend to Roger Goodell, and neither is full disclosure. Concussion looks like it could cement the growing conventional wisdom that this league damages the brain and its leaders are in over their heads. Roger Goodell should start sweating now. Peter Landesman is coming, and he’s bringing Will Smith.
The NFL has been trying to quiet this controversy for years, which makes Concussion even more of a threat. The first trailer for the movie was released on September 1, just days before the regular season is set to begin. Commercials for the film will air throughout the season, possibly even appearing during football games themselves.
The Will Smith Concussion film promises to put head injury on people’s minds in a way that no lawsuit ever could, and creates real awareness of the dangers of repeated head trauma. Parents and fans will be put on alert, which could save thousands of pee-wee league and school football players from suffering the devastating effects of repeat injuries.
David Christensen is a brain injury expert at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team represent the victims of traumatic brain injury and help them get the benefits they deserve from insurance companies. If you or someone you know has suffered serious injury because of a concussion, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.
Image Source: Taís Melillo from New York, USA (Celebrity sighting) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons