Will Smith is coming back to theaters in December with a movie destined to rock the sports world. Will Smith stars in Concussion, taking on football’s greatest open secret. One of the most popular and lucrative sports in America will see a major issue regarding the health of its players get confronted by the iconic actor.
Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who discovered a condition he named chronic traumatic encephalopathy, abbreviated CTE. He first discovered the condition after doing an autopsy on the brain of Pittsburgh Steelers great Mike Webster, who died at 50. Upon examining other athletes, Dr. Omalu pinpointed a serious condition that affects athletes subjected to repeated sports-related head trauma.
How closely Will Smith’s on-screen story will unfold according to Dr. Omalu’s findings is yet to be seen. As more findings have come to light on the sufferings of pro football players, this has become a topic that can no longer be pushed aside. A Will Smith movie can only amplify the sentiments of those affected by the illness.
Variety reported more on the basis of the movie and Will Smith’s role.
“Based on a 2009 GQ article, the film from Sony Pictures tells the real-life story of forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered a link between football injuries and early-onset dementia that could lead to death. He became at odds with the NFL after diagnosing football players, including Dave Duerson (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Andre Waters (Richard T. Jones) with CTE — a brain condition caused by repeated head trauma.”
So the movie will depict Will Smith’s battle with the NFL’s top brass to acknowledge the condition and do something about it. This isn’t the only recent film about CTE. Putting Will Smith in the main role, now giving the issue star power, has already made football league management squeamish.
— FRONTLINE (@frontlinepbs) August 31, 2015
CBS Boston commented on football’s way of dealing with the topic.
“The NFL had a long history of denying any link between repeated blows to the head and the development of CTE, though the league has admitted some responsibility toward retired players’ health, as evidenced by the concussion settlement reached recently.”
Will this be the film to change football? If Will Smith really nails his role, it just might. It could be precisely what is needed to create bigger changes in the way the NFL considers the health of its players while Will Smith continues to prove his knack for dramatic roles.
Will Smith probably won’t be seen attending any Super Bowl’s after this. A movie like this could create issues for him. The remaining question is if Will Smith can convincingly pull off that Nigerian accent for the whole movie.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]