CTE: A Concussion Story Nobody Wanted to Hear

Concussion-2015The story was about “Iron Mike” Webster, thought by many to be the greatest center in NFL history, and his untimely death in 2002. Back in 2002, a Nigerian-born forensic pathologist who was working in the coroner’s office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on an autopsy for Mike Webster discovered a deadly link between football players and brain injury. Concussion—which is highly rated  (just released to video a few weeks ago)—records the heart-breaking struggle this physician faced in trying to make the public aware of the inherent dangers in playing football. Did you know that some 28% of professional football players will suffer from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of repeated brain injuries while playing football? That’s something no mother wants to hear…something most football players don’t want to hear…and something the NFL frankly refused to hear for years, choosing the tack of trying to discredit the doctor’s credibility rather than deal with the implications for football, which now replaces baseball as America’s #1 sport (if money talks, which apparently it does). Dr. Bennet Omalu 2However, the doctor, Bennet “Omalu” (whose family name is a shortened form of Onyemalukwube, which means “He who knows, speak!”) was (still is) a faithful Christian who felt compelled to speak the truth in love rather than bend his knee to the idol of football, even though he was informed that football now “owns one day of the week, Sunday.” Bennet Omalu was also a brilliant man—holding eight advanced degrees and certifications (including degrees in such diverse areas as music and business), so he was confident that his research was painstakingly accurate and his conclusions credible. One of the things that most touched me about the movie was Omalu’s comment that in Nigeria God was #1 but America was just under that, and as a little boy he heard that America was this wonderful land of peace and goodness where people acted the way Christ would. Sigh. Despite his disillusionment, Dr. Omalu is still living in the U.S. with his wife and two children. He is currently the chief medical examiner at San Joaquin County, California, and just became a naturalized citizen this past year. I’m glad he’s in this country, trying to live the way Jesus would have him live!! I was dismayed and challenged by Concussion, and I think you would be too. It’s a great movie!

“He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16, ESV, emphasis mine)



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