I live close to the city where the 2016 Super Bowl will be played. I have never been much of a football fan, and I endure football season every year. However, this year, it is even harder to pretend objectivity on the subject. What has changed?
I recently watched the movie Concussion with my husband. The movie tells the story of the doctor who identified a condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have suffered repetitive brain trauma, including sub-concussive hits to the head that do not cause immediate symptoms. Prior to the documentation by Dr. Bennet Omalu, the disease was commonly identified in those with a history of boxing and referred to them as being “punch-drunk.”
I was intrigued with this story for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that members of my family have experienced repeated concussions in the course of playing contact sports. What makes Omalu’s discovery noteworthy is that the condition is only conclusively identified with an autopsy. Thus, the patient has to die before the diagnosis is confirmed.