Analysis of the 2015 Film, Concussion

The history of American football is long and has been a source of livelihood for many families and has brought in a lot of revenues for the country. There has been no or little interest taken on players in this category of the sport until the recent discovery of the effects that is accompanied as a result of continuous hitting of the head. The “discovery” has been accompanied by various critiques from different individuals and parastatals particularly in the NFL league and the medical departments. The game itself is one of the highest revenue generating sport through the national football league. Today, when an individual is confronted with the notion that indeed “football causes concussions,” it becomes an intuitive proposition that is largely bordered on the redundant. There was no established connection between severe neurological damage and the high paying professional football until the recent discovery that was ignited by a series of controversial events that was then followed by multimillion-dollar litigation (Thompson 48). It is evident that every party and particularly the stakeholders have their best interest in the support the league had on various players’ families and the revenues it generated on the state.

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The movie: concussion is inspired by an outstanding GQ article on the same topic. The movie recounts on the story of an African pathologist by the name Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) who had discovered a neurodegenerative condition in which he referred to it as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) among the NFL players as a result of continuous hitting of their head while playing (Instaread 15). The movie takes center stage as it goes way beyond the grain of its expected genre. Although the players are always on their protective helmets, Dr. Omalu argued that the effects are not easily observed since CTE cannot be diagnosed using the tradition/standard CT scanners and MRI machines. In order to detect CTE, it requires the pathologists to get hold of the actual brain tissue samples and analyze whether there is the presence of toxic materials.

In the movie, “Concussion,” Dr. Omalu’s theory naturally suggest that playing football is unhealthy and an inherently dangerous activity that should be abolished in the United States. The reaction from the most powerful NFL Corporation caught up with Dr. Bennet as the stakeholders tried every means possible to prevent his findings from being known to the public. In a bid to further demonstrate why the protection of the brain against the external knocks are significant, Dr. Omalu provide an example of a bird that wraps its tongue from the back of the mouth, around its skull through the nostril in order to offer protection to its delicate brain tissues. He further explains that when players hit their heads against each other, the brain is exposed to damage since there is no shock-absorbing mechanism within the skull. Furthermore, he went a step ahead to emphasize his point by shaking an egg inside a glass container and demonstrated how the brain inside the skull moves without any form of shock absorbers (Laskas 230). Also, in order to demonstrate how linemen players hit each other with helmets in alarming volume, he scribbled on a whiteboard a diagram showing the Steelers (S’s) and the other team (O’s) colliding.

Although the NFL league stakeholders view the findings of Dr. Omalu as being destructive to their multi-billion investment, it was a bold move as his discovery not only sparked a series of controversial events but also educated the public on the dangers associated with the game. For this reason, both the players who are mainly young individuals and their parents were given an opportunity to understand what they are getting into rather than putting their focus only on the financial benefits associated with the game. It is clear that the publication of his journal faced a lot of resistance because it would adversely affect the number of individuals that participate in this game due to the fear of being affected just like Mike Webster and other senior NFL players.

The NFL had done previous research on the traumatic injuries that were related to the continuous knocking of the skull. However, the stakeholders and the doctors were reluctant to release their findings and that of Dr. Omalu to the public in fear of the “adverse” effects that may be accompanied by the announcement.

The effects of the concussion can often be underestimated because it takes time to be observed. Therefore, it is only by taking a deep research on this subject that one can begin to understand the adverse effects associated with concussion, traumatic brain injuries and CTE. Although the movie has tried to portray a reality on what happened as a result of continuous knocking of the skull as discovered by Dr. Omalu, it is clear that people will not neglect football since they argue that almost all physical activities have negative side effects. Therefore, there is need to focus the attention on finding the remedy for this situation since it is not possible to do away with football.

It is obvious that most football fans will view the movie as being suggestive that the game should be abolished. Thus, it may not go well with their expectations. Due to the depth given to the findings of Dr. Omalu in the movie by various scientists, it indicates the intricate nature of this issue. However, many critics have taken a different perspective on the matter by claiming that the purpose of the movie was purely directed to the football fan for them to keep a tab on science.

In a concluding remark, the movie “concussion” has drawn awareness on the importance of protecting the brain not only among the NFL players but in the day to day life activities that involve vigorous physical actions. Moreover, the film goes a step further in exposing the rotten system in NFL that only focused on the financial gains of the sport at the expense of its players’ health condition. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all the stakeholders to educate the current and aspiring football players on the consequences that are accompanied by the constant hitting of the skull. Also, both the medical and coaching team should be well informed on the signs of a possible CTE and take the necessary drastic actions to control the situation. In doing this, an individual will get into that particular game with clear information on the expected outcome, and thus he/she will have to take care of their delicate brain tissues by making an informed decision. Since the findings of Dr. Omalu were officially published as a journal, NFL has since been involved in various multidisciplinary programs that focus on offering management services to the affected players (Niranjan & Lunsford 195).


Works Cited

Niranjan, Ajay, and L D. Lunsford. Concussion. New York: Karger, 2014. Print.

Laskas, Jeanne M. Concussion. London: Viking, 2016. Print.

Instaread. Concussion: By Jeanne Marie Laskas | Summary & Analysis. Place of publication not identified: Idreambooks Inc, 2016. Print.

Thompson, Tamara. Professional Football. Michigan:Greenhaven Press, 2016. Print.