Concussion: Brain Injury and the NFL

Thursday, February 4, 2016, 7:30 pm
Venue: Nourse Theater

Series: Conversations on Science

In 2002, Bennet Omalu became the first doctor to discover and identify chronic brain damage as a major factor in the deaths of some professional athletes. He called the disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which he first discovered as the result of an autopsy he performed on Mike Webster—one of the best centers in NFL history. Dr. Omalu went on to identify CTE in additional NFL players, military veterans diagnosed with PTSD, and professional wrestlers. Though his professional peers dismissed his findings, Dr. Omalu stood his ground. Today, CTE has become generally accepted, and Dr. Omalu’s findings have revolutionized neuroscience, sports medicine, sports safety, and the study of brain trauma. His life and work is chronicled in the highly anticipated film Concussion starring Will Smith as Dr. Omalu. Born in 1968 in Eastern Nigeria during the civil war, Omalu’s family lived as refugees. He would go on to attend medical school at age 15 and become a physician by age 21. Dr. Omalu will be in conversation with Stone Phillips, former anchor on Dateline NBC, who has reported extensively on head trauma and sports and is himself a former college football quarterback.