News / Arts & Entertainment

    Story of Dr. Omalu Enlightens on Risks of High-impact Sports

    Omalu Hopes Movie Enlightens on Risks of Playing High Impact Sportsi
    X
    Mariama Diallo
    February 07, 2016 12:57 PM
    The recently released movie 'Concussion' tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian-American doctor who discovered the often-fatal effects of head trauma in American football -- but then faced backlash from the National Football League, which governs the sport at the professional level. On the eve of one of America’s most celebrated sporting events – the Super Bowl – VOA’s Mariama Diallo spoke with Dr. Omalu about his findings -- and the aftermath.
    Mariama Diallo

    In Concussion, U.S. actor Will Smith plays forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu who discovered that chronic brain damage was a factor in the deaths of several National Football League (NFL) players. 

    The recently released movie tells the story of Dr. Omalu, the Nigerian-American doctor who discovered the often-fatal effects of head trauma in American football -- but then faced backlash from the NFL, which governs the sport at the professional level. 

    A few days before one of America’s most celebrated sporting events – the Super Bowl – Dr. Omalu told VOA via Skype, it started in 2002, when he performed a CT scan on Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hall of Famer Mike Webster.

    Shocking findings

    “Webster had retired from professional football but his life went on this downward trajectory with severe depression, mood disorders, drug abuse, chronic alcoholism and deterioration in his socio-economic status,” he said. His findings shocked him.

    “I identified an accumulation of abnormal protein in his brain that resembled what we saw in boxers: dementia pugilistica.” 

    He later referred to the condition as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. 

     

    "I found a disease that no one has ever seen… repetitive head trauma chokes the brain," Actor Will Smith said in the movie trailer. 

    At the premiere, Smith said his own view of football has changed. "I'm a football dad, and I didn't know it, and I've talked to professional football players and people who have been in the game a long time that don't know the information that is in this film,” he expressed.

    Findings first dismissed

    The NFL dismissed Omalu's findings at first. 

    “There was some very vicious and violent push back… I was called many names including voodoo doctor, unintelligent, this African. I never knew that African was a derogatory word." Omalu laughed. "People would call me a black African just to insult me.” 

    In recent years, the NFL has begun making rule changes aimed at preventing head injuries. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was looking for ways to make the game safer.

    Last year, former Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford said they would donate their brains, after they died, for scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. 

    “I had my fair share of fun with the NFL and, unfortunately, I wasn't protected the way I needed to be, or I wasn't educated enough on the causes [trauma] that concussions could lead to.” Rice who had his first concussion playing football at the age of 8 said.

    Make NFL safer

    Weatherford added, “The more research can be done, the closer we are to fixing the problem. I think when you look at what Roger Goodell's implemented into the NFL to make it safer is encouraging for me but as much as I love the game of football, I'm not going to let my son play full contact football until he's at least 16.”

    Dr. Omalu said this discovery has never been about him, and he hoped the movie would be a game changer and enlighten people about the risks involved in playing high-impact sports like football, hockey, or boxing. He said his 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son didn’t play any contact sports, adding, "I need to preserve their brains."

    He said this was not about football but about human beings, our children and our families. And the best cure for it is prevention.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.