Concussion Review: How Dangerous is Football?

Watch out football fans, Concussion is about to show you the seriousness of sustaining years of head trauma on the brain. 

Will it affect the way you watch football in the future? Well, that's hard to say, but chances are it will at least make you think. 

Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of the sport, this is a smart, well-acted, and incredibly interesting film that is well worth watching.


There's a good chance Will Smith earns himself another Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the man who found the connection between years of sustaining multiple concussions to suffering from brain disease later in life. 

The story begins with Mike Webster, a former Pittsburg Steeler center who suffered symptoms of dementia, amnesia, and depression before dying at the young age of 50.  

Omalu becomes determined to find out what caused these symptoms in someone so young and otherwise completely healthy. The answers don't come easy, and few people are on his side, but his selflessness and determination to find the truth will have you rooting for him throughout his intense struggle. 

Smith does an excellent job bringing all sides of the character to life, from his incredible intelligence, to his religious background, to his patriotism, and to his social awkwardness. Pathologists sometimes have a reputation for being able to connect better with the dead than the living, and Bennet is no exception. 

But, even as he fights the NFL, his co-workers, and everyone else who wants to bury his research, he manages to connect with Prema Mutiso, who helps him come out of his shell and provides some sweet and funny moments. 

While Smith does a fantastic job, Alec Baldwin steals the show as Dr. Julian Bailes, a former NFL team doctor who joins Omalu and helps him with his discovery. 

While Smith portrays a man all about science who does not actually watch or follow the sport, Baldwin flawlessly depicts a man who, as a scientist and doctor, must accept the truth even though he also has a true love for the game. 

Dr. Bailes can see the beauty and and the poetry that exists when watching a truly amazing play, and that's when those of you who are football fans will really start to feel conflicted. I know, because I love football. 

But, does that mean we have to stop loving football? I don't think so. While the NFL tried to ignore the truth a few years ago, that is no longer an option, and they have been making strides to improve their concussion protocol.

Is it enough? That's hard to say, but at least now players know the risks of the game they play, and can make educated decisions and take extra precautions to protect themselves. 

It is truly tragic to think about the players portrayed in this movie and the rest who weren't that suffered brain trauma before Omalu came along, but now there is hope that things can continue to improve so our athletes can have long, fulfilling lives after they retire. 

The bottom line, Concussion is a fantastic movie that will play at your emotions and make you think, but hopefully will not ruin your appreciation for the game. 

December 27, 2015