This film review contains spoilers, so if you don’t want to know what happens then I’d suggest scrolling straight down to the bottom to watch the trailer or the back button to go back to wherever you just were…
Concussion is a true story based on the forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu who made the first discovery of football-related brain trauma in a pro player and fought to bring awareness to the public. In what is an incredible medical discovery by Omalu, it quickly becomes a David vs Goliath journey when the National Football League (NFL) try to suppress his research on the brain damage suffered by professional football players.
The story starts when Omalu is conducting an autopsy on former NFL football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Webster (played by David Morse) where the forensic pathologist discovers neurological deterioration that is similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Omalu names the disorder Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and publishes his findings in a medical journal. As other athletes face the same diagnosis, the crusading doctor embarks on a mission to raise public awareness about the dangers of football-related head trauma but it is dismissed by the NFL.
Over the next few years, Terry Long, Justin Strzelcyzk and Andre Walters die in similar circumstances and Omalu discovers they all had similar symptoms to that of Mike Webster. Through the help of former Steelers team doctor Julian Bailes, they persuade the NFL commissioners to present his findings before a committee of player safety, however they don’t take him seriously or allow him to be in the room to present. Instead, Bailes has to give the talk for him and Omalu is subjected to pressure to back down from his efforts and both he and his wife as subjected to such backlash and stalking they feel they no longer feel safe in Pittsburgh and have to leave to move on where they then set up a happy new home in Lodi, California.
Years later, when Dave Duerson, former NFL Players Association Executive, commits suicide he leaves a note admitting that Omalu was right. Omalu is finally allowed to address the NFL Players Association conference on concussions and specifically his study on CTE. The study then faces growing scrutiny from Congress and the NFL are forced to take the concussion issue more seriously.
There are some shocking statements made at the end of the movie, which I won’t spoil by saying here but I think you’ll be shocked/surprised. The movie is released in to cinemas across the UK from 29 January. Overall I really enjoyed the movie and as an NFL fan it’s a real eye opener. I have no doubt that those of you like me who are fans of the game, and those who play the game will enjoy it.
To see the official trailer, click the video below.