Over the Christmas holiday, I saw the movie “Concussion” and I highly recommend that parents see the movie.
Why am I recommending a movie about football and the NFL on an education blog? I am not a sports fan and know very little about football. In fact the last football game I watched was the Super Bowl 2015 and I normally only watch the Super Bowl and sometimes a game on Thanksgiving each year.
In fact “Concussion” is not just about football and the NFL but about the damage, the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), that playing football can inflict upon football players and the determination of the forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu who discovered this disease and fought to bring the truth to light.
For me “Concussion” was well acted and enjoyable, or as enjoyable as any movie with a difficult subject can be, but more importantly it presents issues that Americans need to grapple with. As parents do we want to allow our children to play football with the danger that we now know repeated head trauma can produce? How will our schools keep our students who play football safe? How many head bangs are too many? If our students do not play football, who will fill the collegiate and professional football teams of the future? I found this response from the NFL claiming that they are working to make football safe but is enough being done to keep players safe? And ultimately are Americans willing to give up the violence that has traditionally been part of football in order to make it safer for the players? Let’s face it – professional football is about the money. Fans have to be excited, wanting to attend games, buy merchandise, etc. If football players are not rough or are worried about concussions and avoiding injuries, are fans going to attend the games or lose interest?
When Dr. Omalu finally gets to talk to Dr. Joseph Maroon, the NFL doctor who has claimed that there is no risk to players from head trauma, Omalu charges Maroon to “Tell the truth!” “Concussion” is telling the truth on the big-screen so that the American public can know the truth and make informed decisions regarding head trauma and football.
I have to admit that Dr. Omalu’s David vs. Goliath fight against the NFL also inspired me in “Concussion”. As a parent fighting against Common Core for what seems like forever, the battle is discouraging at times. However protecting our children is worth the fight and we must persevere. While the pro-Common Core side doesn’t “own a day of the week” (Dr. Cyril Wecht) like the NFL does on TV, Common Core supporters/lobbyists are deeply funded while parents are not. All we have is our determination to “tell the truth” and I will continue to do so in person and via this blog until Common Core is defeated.