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“Concussion,” the Movie and in the News

Any debate about whether the head injuries suffered by football players often leading to serious brain injuries have been a taboo subject amongst sports fanatics, until now. It’s a manly sport, and grown men can take it, or so it seems. However, there is growing concern for these players, once the lights on their celebrity status goes dim, what happens next; where do they go and what happens to them.

As today’s superheroes on the gridiron become washed up disabled citizens in our neighborhoods trying to come to terms with the “hows” and “whys” of their disabilities emerge from the shadows, we are beginning to understand that the end of the game is literally the end of the game for many of our football superstars. But now it is time for them to come out of the shadows, to make themselves known to their fans that rooted for their triumphs, and to let their fans understand the price that was paid.

The movie “Concussion” is a medical drama film based on the life and death of a former Pittsburgh Steelers center, Mike Webster. Webster was found sitting in his truck, dead from no apparent cause. The efforts made to bring to light the actual cause of his death forms the bases for this movie.

During an autopsy, it was discovered that Webster had been suffering from brain damage, for some time prior to his death. The forensic pathologist performing the autopsy on Webster determined that his death resulted from repeated blows to the head over a period of time resulting in brain damage. This condition is also known as “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” (CTE).

In the movie, “Concussion,” Will Smith’s character is a forensic pathologist, and the protagonist who fights against the efforts of the National Football League to suppress his research into the connection between this brain damage and the head injuries sustained by football players during the games.

The issue of repeated blows to the head, leading to concussions and ultimately to brain damage is well settled. It stands to reason that it is physically and medically impossible for anyone to sustain head injuries on an ongoing basis, overtime, and not ultimately suffer from some form of brain damage. The boxing terminology for a fighter suffering from brain damage due to head injuries was “punch drunk.” It means the same thing. Left untreated, such injuries may ultimately lead to severe handicaps and death.

During the National Football League’s legal battles over consistent and reoccurring head injuries suffered by its players, it was discovered that there was evidence that 76 out of 79 deceased football players suffered from some form of degenerative brain disease as a result of consistent head injuries received during the game.

Brain injury leading to either disabilities or death as a result of brain damage is a very serious matter. To consult with an experienced brain injury attorney on this issue, or if you or a loved one is suffering from a brain injury or a brain trauma due to the actions of another, contact Levin & Perconti at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation.