Will Smith’s new movie ‘Concussion’ to shed brighter light on subject
The first trailer of Will Smith’s newest movie, “Concussion,” was released today. And as the season gears up following cheating scandals and cover-up conspiracies over illegal acts, the movie could cause some additional headaches for the National Football League.
Directed and written by Peter Landesman, “Concussion” stars Will Smith who plays Nigerian-born forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. The real-life story of Omalu, based on the 2009 GQ interview, tells the story of how Omalu discovered evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative neurological disease that affects football players and other athletes playing in high contact sports.
CTE was brought to the NFL’s attention in the early 2000s. While the film undoubtedly dramatizes the events following the discovery of CTE, one could presume that the NFL’s initial response was likely combative.
Despite the initial push back, as a fan of football, it seems clear that the league has taken steps to curtail repeated injuries from head trauma. Since 2009, the NFL has adopted stricter policies for clearing players to return to play. Per league rules, players who suffer head trauma must go through a mandatory return-to-play process involving observation, comparison to preseason baseline tests and physical exertion. Before resuming play, a player must be cleared by the team doctor and an independent neurological consultant.
These improved rules (along with better safety equipment and rules protecting head-to-head or shoulder-to-head hits) have proven the NFL’s knowledge of the issue and willingness to address it. The “Concussion” movie, set to release December 25, 2015, will shed additional light on the subject. It is pretty safe to say that there will be more pressure on the NFL to address the issue.