Everybody went to see Star Wars over the holiday weekend. Some people – fewer people – went to see a movie with a more startling takeaway message.
That movie is called Concussion.
Concussion is the story of a doctor, Bennet Omalu, and his discovery that repetitive head blows actually can cause a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE.
The drama in the film comes from Omalu’s character (played by Will Smith) battling the National Football League (NFL) to get it to realize that the many repetitive blows football players receive can lead to CTE – a debilitating and ultimately deadly brain abnormality.
One big takeaway of the film is a simple, yet still surprisingly novel message for many: “Protect your brain.”
Because the Nutcase motto has always been ‘I Love My Brain’, and because the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is a valued Nutcase partner, we were eager to hear how the BIAA viewed the film.
“The BIAA’s work has mostly revolved around moderate and severe brain injury,” said spokeswoman Carrie Mosher. “With the release of this movie, BIAA is putting more focus on mild brain injury. We have no negative stance on the NFL – we just want people to know about the risks of repetitive brain injury.”
Dr. Omalu, who has received both positive and negative attention for his highlighting of CTE in football players, has said in interviews that he wants people to better understand the disease. It is not concussions per se that cause CTE, he said, it is blows to the head.
And then blows to the head, he said in a blog post interview, “can cause subconcussions, concussions, post-concussion syndrome, posttraumatic encephalopathy [PTE] and chronic traumatic encephalopathy [CTE]. It’s a spectrum, a continuum of syndromes caused by blows to the head. A concussion is a manifestation of blows to the head.”
Helmets can help protect the brain from injury, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a concussion, even when wearing one. So BIAA’s mission, Mosher added, is to make sure people understand concussions – a surprising 90% of Americans can’t define the condition.
(The Centers for Disease Control defines it as: a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.)
BIAA’s web site and its new brochure help define it and also give people the information we all need to protect our brains.
What we want to do at Nutcase is make brain protection as fun and nutty as it possibly can be.