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Will Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu's emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world. Written by
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Although never mentioned in the film, Chris Nowinski, an American author, co-founder and Executive Director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, and a former professional wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment and renowned for being WWE's first Harvard alumnus, wrote Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis, which examined the long-term effects of head trauma among athletes. Nowinski played an integral role in the discovery of the fourth case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a former NFL football player, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk, who was killed in a fiery automobile crash in 2004 at age 36 after a 37-mile police chase at speeds up to 100 miles per hour on the wrong side of the highway. Julian Bailes, the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at West Virginia University and the Steelers' team neurosurgeon during Strzelczyk's career, insisted to Nowinski over a phone conversation that he thought Strzelczyk's death, which was precipitated by strange behavior that some had labeled as "bipolar", was worth looking into due to its similarities to the Andre Waters case. Nowinski contacted Omalu, who discovered the brain was still available, and Nowinski called Mary Strzelczyk, Justin's mother, to ask for permission to Omalu to examine it for CTE. Omalu's positive diagnosis was confirmed by two other neuropathologists. See more »
While haloperidol (Haldol) can be given intramuscularly in the deltoid as pictured, virtually no doctor would inject it through a dirty shirt as Dr. Bailes does when he injects Mike Webster in his office. Also, most doctors with a fully equipped office would have a nurse administer the drug, and they most certainly would expose the area for injection and sanitize it before injecting. See more »
#Concussion has made me see what athletes go through from a different angle and I'm saying that as a man who didn't grow up a fan of American football. CONCUSSION is a compelling David Vs. Goliath story, it's a true great American story, and it's Will Smith's best performance since 2006's "The Pursuit Of Happiness" Written and directed by Peter Landesman, based on the GQ article "Game Brain," you've all seen the trailer for CONCUSSION which has Will Smith playing real life accomplished forensic neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered a disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which a progressive degenerative disease found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma, and it's commonly found nowadays in pro-football player because they get repeated bows to the head every time they play, this is a heavy contact sport, as we all know.
So the film is about this immigrant doctor with high ethical standards and he truly loves America and yet the America he loves seems to be trying to shut him up because he's basically going up against the sport Americans live and breath for and one of the biggest most capitalistic organizations in the country. When you're messing with a giant business because you've discovered a truth about them that they don't like or a truth that might hurt their profit-making, you're bound to get bullied by the giant.
I had my worries at first, I thought Will Smith's attempt on Nigerian accent may distract or it may make him into a caricature instead of an embodiment but fortunately, that's not what happened. Will Smith's performance in this film really burns with convictions, he will have you take his side in a heartbeat. There's a bit of "A Few Good Men" 'tell me the truth you can't handle the truth' sorta moment mixed with Denzel Washington's 'love's gonna bust me out' moment in "Hurricane" so it's clear that over the years, Will has learned from his fellow masters and honed his skills or his artistry to perfection. Somebody told me once that Will is a big fan of the Philadelphia Eagles team, so it's interesting to see him play the role of a man who takes on the NFL.
The film itself is set in a way that makes you feel like you're going on an uphill battle. I think writer/director Peter Landesman approached it in a way that doesn't demonize American football, but sheds a light on the truth about it, just like what the real Dr. Omalu did. It is also a story about immigrants, a fact which sadly a lot of Americans today seem to forget, that we are a nation of immigrants.
CONCUSSION will surely give rise to discussions not just among NFL players and team owners but also among audiences and football fans. But will the discussion only last a dinner table's length and then be forgotten once Sunday game comes around again? I read up after watching the movie and found that the NFL still makes excuses in admitting the impact CTE has on their players. They've done settlements, they've paid millions of dollars to families, they've changed some things about the way the game is played but keep in mind that this is a big money-making business, so when money is at stake, unfortunately human lives get negotiated over.
The way the NFL handles this reminds me of how right wing politicians try to repudiate climate change, by hiring their own scientists, some of whom may not even be experts on the field study, because those politicians have been bought by fossil fuel businesses. So point being, change in America can happen but it does not happen overnight, it's a slow and painful process as long as there's money involved.
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