Will The Will Smith Movie ‘Concussion’ Change The Way You Feel About The NFL?
Playing in the NFL for a long stretch of time—or hell, playing any form of football for any amount of time—can lead to brain damage later in life. Unfortunately, this is something that has been proven to be true. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding brain diseases like chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE, but they exist, and they are having a profound impact on people who used to play football. It’s the subject of the new Will Smith movie, Concussion, which hit theaters on Christmas.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, who is played by Smith in the movie, did an interview with Time this week and revealed that he believes that more than 90 percent of American football players suffer from some degree of CTE. Not all show signs of it right away, and not all of them end up in terrible shape later in life. But he believes that CTE is something that the NFL is going to have to come to terms with sooner than later.
“In my opinion,” he said, “taking professional football players as a cohort, I think over 90 percent of American football players suffer from this disease. Over 90 percent of players who play to the professional level have some degree of this disease. I have not examined any brain of a retired football player that came back negative.”
Even if Dr. Omalu’s projections are wildly off, it’s still clear that a large number of former and possibly even current players have CTE. And we don’t know how to feel about that. On the one hand, we love football and appreciate the fact that so many men are willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the sport. On the other, Concussion has us rethinking the way we watch football. How can we cheer for someone on the field knowing they are taking years off their life by playing? It’s a dilemma for sure and everyone seems to be dealing with it differently.
Will Concussion prevent you from watching football, or are you able to separate the negative effects football has on players from the game itself?