Tag Archive for NFL Concussion

A New Film Starring Will Smith Takes On NFL Concussion Issue

football helmetIf the latest film the actor Will Smith is starring in becomes a hit, it will continue to keep the NFL Concussion issue in the headlines for a long time. The film titled “Concussion” will focus around the doctor who first discovered the effects some football players experienced as a result of playing football. The film follows the doctor played by Will Smith and his journey in exposing the problem and the push back he received when he sought to expose it. In reality, the doctor (Dr. Bennet Omalu), who discovered and exposed Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (C.T.E.) dealt with many issues including being criticized and discredited for what his work showed. Omalu’s story has been covered by numerous outlets like the New York Times, PBS’s Frontline, ESPN’s Outside The Lines, and HBO’s Real Sports With Brian Gumbel.

Initially, the NFL settled with plaintiffs from the lawsuit for $765 million with additional compensation for medical benefits and concussion testing, but the judge wasn’t satisfied and the cap of $765 million was dropped with the other parts of the settlement still in place. Arguably, that settlement wouldn’t have occurred had it not been for the findings of Dr. Omalu. Omalu is currently a Volunteer Associate Clinical Professor for the University of California, Davis, the Chief Medical Examiner of San Joaquin County in California, and the President of Bennet Omalu Pathology. In certain respects, Omalu can be considered a whistleblower because of his findings and his willingness to reveal them to the general public. The NFL is arguably the most popular and profitable sport in the United States. His findings threatened the entire league and its future and his fight to expose the truth is covered in the movie “Concussion”. In addition to threatening the league, Omalu’s findings sparked an ongoing discussion among fans and parents of children who play in little league, high school, and college. If those parents decided to prevent or stop their child from playing football that would be detrimental to the league.

The settlement was eventually approved by the Judge with a majority of plaintiffs being satisfied with the deal. Even though there are a some objectors and lawsuits aside from this settlement proceeding against the NFL, most agree that the settlement is good for the plaintiffs. A trial would have been long and drawn out and would bring some uncertainties. The film “Concussion” is expected to be released in December 2015.