“Repetitive head trauma chokes the brain.”
So says Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist at the heart of of the film Concussion, played by Golden Globe-nominated actor Will Smith. Omalu’s journey to discovering CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, began in 2002 while performing an autopsy on former Pittsburgh Steeler football player Mike Webster, who died at the age of 50. Post-NFL retirement, Webster suffered from amnesia, dementia, depression, and other unexplained cognitive and emotional difficulties. In his study of Webster’s brain, Omalu found large amounts of tau protein, a substance associated with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.