Concussion is a 2015 American biographical sports drama thriller film directed and written by Peter Landesman, and produced by Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman, and Elizabeth Cantillon, based on the exposé “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, published in 2009 by GQ magazine.
Set in 2002, the film stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who fights against the National Football League trying to suppress his research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain degeneration suffered by professional football players. It also stars Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Albert Brooks.
In 2002, former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster is found dead in his pickup truck, after years of self-mutilation and homelessness. Before his death, a fellow football player, Justin Strzelczyk, comes to him, and confides that he is starting to lose his memory, that he is saying odd things to his children, and nearly threw his wife against the wall. A disoriented Webster brushes the worries off, and deliriously tells him that the most important thing “is to finish the game”, which is what he said during his Hall of Fame speech.
Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist with the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania cororner’s office, handles Webster’s autopsy. He wonders how a man, otherwise healthy, and fairly young, could have degenerated so quickly, and makes it a point to figure out why he died of a heart attack at only fifty. Omalu closely examines microscope slides of Webster’s brain and discovers that he had severe brain damage. He ultimately determines that Webster died as a result of the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head—a disorder he later calls chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). With the help of former Steelers team doctor Julian Bailes, fellow neurologistSteven T. DeKosky and county coroner Cyril Wecht, Omalu publishes a paper on his findings, which is initially dismissed by the NFL.
Over the next few years, Omalu discovers that three other former NFL players, Strzelczyk (died 2004), Terry Long (died 2005), and Andre Waters (died 2006), had symptoms very similar to Webster’s. He finally persuades newly appointed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to allow him to present his findings before a committee on player safety. However, the NFL does not take him seriously and he is barred from the committee meeting, forcing Bailes, a former NFL employee, to give the presentation in his place. However, the meeting is a set up, where they claim the players’ head trauma was due to past injuries, having nothing to do with football. As he leaves the meeting, Dave Duerson angrily confronts Omalu, and tells him to “go back to Africa“.
Omalu is subjected to considerable pressure to back down from his efforts, as football is a city wide beloved sport, having gotten people through tough times and helping men go to college. Wecht is subjected to a politically motivated prosecution on corruption charges, and Omalu is forced to leave Pittsburgh soon after, lest he be deported, or sent to prison on petty charges as punishment for tarnishing the NFL. Omalu’s wife, Prema, suffers a miscarriage after being stalked. The Omalus are forced to leave their dream home outside Pittsburgh. They move to Lodi, California, where Omalu takes a job with the San Joaquin County coroner’s office.
Source Page – Wikipedia