Concussion heads into theatres impacting athletes of all sports

Concussions, which affect athletes from all sports, are the subject of the new Will Smith movie.

Photo by Columbia Pictures

Concussions, which affect athletes from all sports, are the subject of the new Will Smith movie.

Sydney Calhoun, Staff Writer

Ever since Peter Landesman’s Concussion hit the big screen, critics have been devouring the true story and controversial plot. 

“Concussion is a movie that I feel is important to watch,” former National Football League player Eric Allen said. “Head trauma is not only happening on the football field, but where other sports are being played.” 

This injury has impacted many athletes, both participants of the sport and those retired. Not only do concussions affect athletes, but their families and friends are indirectly affected as well. Regardless of the sport, it is crucial this issue becomes a major topic of discussion and research.

“Concussions have really affected me over the years as a second basemen,” varsity softball player Haley Brownen ’17 said.  “I started to have terrible headaches and trouble remembering things. This caused issues within my family because I would forget to pick up my sister from practice and so much more.What really got to me was that I had to sit on the bench and watch my team practice and win victories without me. Concussions have a strong effect on a person and many have no idea about the severe issues that can come out of it.”

Concussion begins by showcasing the life of a retired NFL player Mike Webster, who struggles with an internal disease that no one recognizes. Webster ends up passing away, introducing the audience to Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist. Omalu performs an autopsy on Webster’s brain, and to his surprise, it appears healthy on the surface.

Omalu is unconvinced that a person could have died with a well-functioning mind. So, he decides to invest his personal money into further research of Webster’s brain, which reveals a disease similar to Alzheimer’s that affects the brain function due to a viral infection sustained in the blood. Omalu names this condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

From then on, he makes it his mission to challenge the NFL in hopes of raising awareness about what is happening under these players’ helmets and inside their heads.  

Casting Will Smith, a Hollywood actor and television star, as Dr. Omalu was unexpected, but Landesman needed someone who was notable, and Smith’s performance exceeded expectations.

Many physicians, teachers and parents believe the issue of concussions has been ignored for too long. However, the world is becoming more and more educated about this problem, which will hopefully lead to increased awareness, and strides in research and treatment.

According to the latest box office report, the movie has earned approximately $32.4 million nationwide.