NFL players get a special Christmas, courtesy of Will Smith, with free admission to his new drama Concussion, according to Forbes. Will Smith portrays a doctor from Pittsburgh named Bennet Omalu. In the film, Smith makes a devastating connection between football players’ head injuries and the impact on their lives because of them. Omalu discovers chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, and goes to the ropes against the NFL, fighting for the lives of the players. With the disturbing risks of losing billions of dollars after the discovery, the NFL works hard to dismiss the connectivity of the disease to the All-American sport of football.
[Sony Pictures Entertainment/Sony Pictures]
Will Smith’s research into Omalu for the movie Concussion, revealed the CTE Center at Boston University has recognized the defect. It’s been discovered in 88 of the 92 brain investigations the examination has been performed on, Detroit Free Press states. These post-mortem studies prove that even offensive lineman Lou Creekmur, a Hall of Fame player who played for the Detroit Lions from 1950-1959, suffered from this condition.
Rashean Mathis, a player for the Detroit Lions, isn’t sure if he’ll take his wife to see Concussion or not. The couple made a point to watch “League of Denial” when it was released as a PBS Frontline documentary. The film shows that while the injuries were sustained, along with many others, former players such as Jim Otto, who played for the Oakland Raiders state,
“I went to war and I came out of the battle with what I got.”
They were moved by finding out the multi-billion dollar industry has been covering long-term injuries, inflicted by football; but, Mathis still intends on playing.
“But it’s tough when it can be your reality and it’s fatal.”
Still, the couple doesn’t believe Concussion will shift public opinion.
As far as Will Smith’s discoveries for the movie, Concussion, the news has been covered before. Neuropsychologist from Boston University, Dr. Robert Stern says that when these players hit full on with their heads its equivalent to 12 G of force. In other words, driving a car at 35 mph into a brick wall 1,000 – 1,500 times a year would have the same affect.
With all the hype surrounding Concussion, “League of Denial,” and even football players like Mathis put out for the film, what will the results be? Will people stop buying tickets years in advance to visit the gladiators as they beat each other silly in the ring? Not likely. Similar risks haven’t stopped people from watching professional boxing matches or wrestling. Sometimes the risk is what the excitement is all about for viewers.
Something else to keep in mind while investigating the impact and outcome of Concussion is the trade-off. If there were no risk involved, contracts wouldn’t be signed for $84 million dollars for a 4-year contract, as published by the NFL. On their website, they display the highest pay-out for contracts in the 2015 year beginning with Eli Manning. Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers will have a five-year guarantee of $54 million after playing for $22 million per year. If he completes his contract, he will have $110 million, and that’s just one player out of thousands.
Professional members of the NFL will undoubtedly watch Smith’s Concussion and have something to talk about in the locker room at their next game. Chances aren’t very promising the show will deplete the football league at all. Men love the playing the sport, Americans love watching the sport, and investors get rich with the sport. With the risk spelled out so clearly and the gamble being such high stakes, it’s one most people would be willing to take their chances on. Considering how many brain injuries are discovered, comparing it to how many players there have been over the years, it seems as if the risk has small odds of coming out unfavorable for the sport.
While Smith’s Concussion will certainly be an awakening to the public, the impact may actually glorify the sport by creating an even more dangerous playing field — similar to watching a live gun showdown. Watching and betting on a sport is a lot different than being involved in it, and those funding the sport certainly don’t have much their own physical well-being hinged on the risks of CTE.
After encouraging the public to watch Concussion with an open heart, watch it with an open mind, too. With one hand holding health and the other holding fame and fortune, there’s a choice to be made. Which would you choose given the opportunity?
[Photo by Elise Amendola/AP Photo]