by Dalton Hanson
The NFL has had a problem for years, but until recently, it’s managed to keep its fans and players in the dark. On Christmas Day, Will Smith returned to the big screen to deliver an emotional performance on the NFL’s concussion controversy.
Smith plays Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who performs an autopsy on Steelers center Mike Webster in 2002. His exam reveals Webster suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive disease found in people who have suffered repeated head injuries.
By the time he died at 50, Webster had suffered from physical problems and depression. Omalu estimates that Webster might have received nearly 70,000 repeated blows to the head during his playing days. League physicians seek to discredit Omalu’s findings.
The question is, “why?” Omalu simply trys to find the cause behind an ex-NFL player’s untimely death. Still, he is shamed and harassed by fans and league executives alike, who accuse him of trying to ruin the league.
In the actual course of events, the NFL agreed to a settlement paying ex-players who’ve suffered concussions, the punishment for having not released information on the sport’s risks when it first learned of them.
I don’t see football going anywhere in the next decade. Athletes will continue to play for the extensive amount of money they make and fans will continue to watch for the sport’s drama and excitement.
Stadiums across the country sell out every Sunday throughout the season. The majority of fans have an emotional attachment to their teams.
Unless it’s a star player, when someone gets hurt, it’s “next man up,” and fans turn their focus to the next player coming into the game, ingnoring the physical damage inflicted on the injured players.
So how are we supposed to feel when it comes to head injuries? Players know exactly what they’re getting into. Despite equipment advancements and the league’s changing rules, there’s no way to eliminate head injuries from the game.
I would encourage football fans, as well as the indifferent, to see the movie and get a better idea of what the NFL is up against. Football isn’t going away any time soon and this issue will only become more relevant.as time goes by.