More from Dr. Omalu

Much of what Dr. Bennet Omalu said last week at a private screening of the motion picture “Concussion” didn’t wind up in print.

San Joaquin County’s Chief Medical Examiner is a fascinating, brave and caring man, whose work inspired the book and the movie about his discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in deceased NFL players. Omalu battled the NFL and the medical community, as his findings threatened the country’s largest and most powerful sports entity. But Omalu, a native Nigerian and United States citizen, stood strong and showed a mirror up to the league and the American public about the long-term damage of repeated blunt-force head trauma.

Here are some quotes from Omalu’s appearance Jan. 9 in Lodi:

On his groundbreaking autopsy of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, which started Omalu’s quest that almost cost him everything:

“Like I always said, I wish I never did the Mike Webster autopsy. I wish I could have just lived a normal, simple life and died a simple death. But it is what it is.”

Omalu has given Americans much to think about when it comes to exposing people of all ages, but especially children, to the risks of contact sports:

“What happens as a society, we evolve. We become more enlightened. There is nothing bad about light. Light is good. Only good can come out of light. And light brings knowledge. Light is truth. So, I think it’s a good thing to know the truth and if you know the truth, the truth will set you free. The truth is liberating. So, I think this is about how we are as Americans.”

Omalu on whether he was happy with the film:

“I feel the story was a good depiction of events in my life. Everything in that movie happened. It’s a phenomenal movie. I strongly advise every family to see the movie. This movie’s a game-changer. People should go see it and enlighten themselves.”

Does he hope Will Smith wins the Oscar for his portrayal of him?:

“I pray. I pray and I’m fasting. I’m not lying about it. I’m praying and fasting for him. I’ve spent time with him and Will Smith stole my soul away from me. I’m waiting for him to return (it). When I was watching that movie at some point I forgot I was watching Will Smith. I actually thought I was watching myself.”

On the future:

“As science evolves, we need to evolve with science. We used to smoke in air planes in the 70s. We used to use asbestos in the 80s. We don’t do that today. And so, no matter how enticing or fantastic football could be, we have to be smarter.”

“Black men make up 6 percent of the population. But black men make up 70 percent of football players and most of them come from poor backgrounds. It’s becoming less often now to see a physician’s son play football. It tells you a lot.”

 

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