OT - Discussion on the Concussion (movie)

Submitted by trueblue262 on January 7th, 2016 at 9:54 AM

I am thinking of taking the wife to see the new concussion movie. Has anybody on the board seen the new movie? Do you recommend seeing it?

I don't have kids that play football, but I do have kids that play sports, and one has already had a concussion or 2. I have had 2 or 3 in my lifetime. Any insight would be appreciated.



January 7th, 2016 at 10:03 AM ^

of everyone blowing the concussion thing out of proportion. Everything being done now, which is good, is in response to how poorly things were handled in the past. I don't know if it was handled poorly in the past on purpose, or because of a genuine lack of education on the subject. I feel for all of the older guys who develop CTE, I really do, but so much knowledge has been gained on the subject. I feel like there is a witch hunt going on against football and I am tired of it.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:13 AM ^

has gone overboard now.  The risks are clear at this point and I don't think it needs to be discussed as much as it is.  If guys like Borland think the risk is too high they won't play and that is fine.  No additional feature films necessary.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:20 AM ^

Lol at the risks are clear.  The science around this stuff is just getting started, partly because the NFL tried to shut down the research and expansion of the risks in the past.  The idea of cumulative non-concussive hits is still relatively new science and most people aren't aware of it.

You can still like football but if you think we already know everything there is to know about the impacts of sports and football in particular on traumatic brain injury you are lying to yourself or are woefully misinformed.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:28 AM ^

goes like this.  Continually getting hit in the head is bad for your head and can cause damage.  I don't need Will Smith in an await-bait turn as a cool doctor to make this clear.  The rules of the game have been drastically altered and helmet technology is changing daily to try to address the risks.  If you A) like the sport enough to play anyway and/or B) are really good at it and can make a lot of money doing it, than it may be worth the risk for you personally.  If not, then don't play.  It is really not that complicated.  But there does not need to be a "public consensus" on the issue.  I can appreciate the film as a "period peice" about the emergence of information regarding the condition but nobody is breaking any ground here.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:48 AM ^

The film isn't breaking ground but its a) bringing to light how the nfl covered this all up which isn't as well known and b) putting pressure on people to continue doing research.  You are incredibly dismissive but some of the most important research is being done to see the impacts these types of hits could have on a developing brain vs a fully formed brain.

Its possible the research will suggest that any tackle football for any person before the age of 16 is a monumental risk regardless of the technology and actuall tackle football will be eliminated as a youth sport.  You just don't know because the science doesn't exist yet.  So sure you can say hit head hard bad but worth risk, or you can look at the details of the issue and maked informed data driven decisions at every level.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:55 AM ^

agree with everything you are saying.  I am not trying to be dismissive of the research and I know it is important.  There are just always societal issues in the media "that need to be addressed" now.  There are always the "boogie man" issues.  There is always a "conversation that needs to happen in this country." 

The science is progressing, adjustments will continue to be made.  I just think that everybody gets stuck on certain things and it is like a record skipping.  I just think there has been enough discussion about it and that people should be informed when breakthroughs are made or when new information comes to light.  Instead, we are up for The Concussion Discussion - Round 26 now that this movie has been released, because "it is a conversation that needs to be had in this country." 


January 7th, 2016 at 1:12 PM ^

IDK man...you actually seem pretty 'dismissive of the research' when you group all 'societal' issues into one big 'boogie man' box. You might want to consider why the NFL did so much for so long to cover this issue up before writing it off as just another anoying conversation that needs to be had (sounds like couples counseling lol). 


January 7th, 2016 at 10:58 AM ^

Again, being the OP here I have not see the movie yet, but I plan to. I kind of expect it to be similar to the movie "The Insider". The whitleblowing movie on the tobacco industry. Everybody knew that smoking was bad for you......that wasn't what the movie was trying to bring out. It was trying to make clear how the big tobacco companies were "adding fuel to fire" or in this case covering up.

Cali Wolverine

January 7th, 2016 at 11:48 AM ^

...it will make you feel guilty about watching and enjoying football (especially college football where kids are involved) for a few weeks...so watch it after the Super Bowl. Just because some people are dismissive and do not actually want to think about the fact that they are taking pleasure in possibly watching young men continually injure themselves doesn't mean the movie is not worth seeing. It is probably the best acting that Will Smith has ever done...for what that's worth. That said...I probably wouldn't have seen it but for the special Q&A.

Will Smith's son played football for Oaks Christian (Jimmy Clausen, Marc Tyler, etc.), which along with Long Beach Poly and Loyola, probably produce the most PAC 12 football players of Los Angeles area schools. Interestingly, Smith was asked whether he would have let his son play competitive high school football had he known then what he knows now...Smith said he would still let his son play despite the risks.


January 7th, 2016 at 11:10 AM ^

Helmet technology is not coming along all that quickly, as if the problem will be solved any day now.

For example, think about certain animals. If a bighorn sheep wants to get laid, it's got to bang its head as hard as possible against the other males. You've also got woodpeckers doing their thing.

Both these animals have developed protective features that prevent brain damage, which you'd think could provide a template in order to improve helmets relatively easily. However, even with these clues, developing sufficiently protective technology continues to be a struggle.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:15 AM ^

This is also about subconcussive hits.

It is not just about football, but soccer as well.  My son played 4 years of center midfield collegiate soccer...5 career concussions and hundreds and hundreds of headers.

I've seen the movie and I thought Will Smith was pretty good.


January 7th, 2016 at 11:16 AM ^

It's the subconcussive hits that bring up the very valid question as to whether young kids should be allowed to play given their particular vulnerability (developing brains may be more susceptible to longer term damage from repetitive trauma).

We make kids wait on a lot of things we know are bad for them... cigarettes, alcohol, etc., sports with head trauma may eventually have to be on that list. I'd be in favor of flag football until h.s. at least.


January 7th, 2016 at 11:28 AM ^

This is purely speculative, but I would guess that the chances for head injury or repetitive trauma only gets worse as you get farther along (HS -> college -> NFL) because you invest more of your time playing and the collisions get more and more violent. Point being, I doubt youngsters are at a high risk or even high schoolers, as long as their coaches follow properly protocol, which are admittedly probably not nearly well-enough developed at levels below college.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:35 AM ^

The surface has BARELY been scratched in terms of knowledge gained.

Neuroscience is extremely complex and we are still many years away from being able to understand it well enough to prevent/effectively treat most of the related disorders, including CTE.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:06 AM ^

build character. Without earning several conclusions playing both football and basketball in my life I would not be where I am today. So what if someday I forget my own damn name, hell I already forget names of co-workers I am around daily, I lost my car keys the other day and they were in my damn hand already. I say we take the pads off of the players and play full contact in street clothes. The truth is that football is a dangerous game and what I love most about the game is that it allows you to impose your will on someone with Ill intent and it's not a felony. Without football growing up I would not have had an outlet for the anger I had growing up and who knows what I would have done to release that aggression without the game of football.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:09 AM ^

I think I know where you are coming from.   As a kid, I loved football of all forms...organized in pads, tackle without pads on the playground, even touch or flag.

One of the greatest feelings in the world, is crushing an opponent with a clean hit and driving him backwards in to the dirt.  It just feels so powerful...I miss that from football. 


January 7th, 2016 at 10:14 AM ^

you don't say.../s

I loved football, my son plays the game now as a HS freshman...it is what it is. However to say concussions are irrelevant and not a big deal is just assinine. Part of the issue is technique and the equipment used. A lot has been done to make the game safer, but it's still a violent game. The movie exposes a lot of the faults in the system, and maybe more importantly is about the blatant money game known as the NFL not so much a 'witch hunt'...sorry, even 2015 reports show a huge desparity in concussion reporting based on teams/protocol. It says that while steps have been taken, it doesn't imply it's fixed by any means. NO player signs on to the league thinking their brain will have damage later in life due to the sport. And sorry...the high school and college game differ greatly from the NFL in purpose.

I would recommend seeing the film, as entertainment, and even provoking thought. I don't want to see football banned or taken away...but having a better awareness of it's impact, and 'enough is enough' that's worth it. The odds of developing CTE are not astronomical. But being aware of it's cause, and warning signs, surely makes a difference in their lives. Our own Leroy Hoard was featured on a CTE program. Says his life has been dramatically altered due to it and his wife is becoming a care taker not a spouse...guess for some of you it doesn't matter...


January 7th, 2016 at 10:10 AM ^

You can interpret the movie however you want to, but after watching it, it defenitly made me think twice about having the boys play a physical sport such as football.
Also the concussion details and its severity have been toned down in the movie due to NFL suing the movie company before it was released. I guess they left a lot of things out.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


January 7th, 2016 at 10:32 AM ^

"physical sport such as football." 

And Soccer, 



Baseball if they want to pitch (aluminum bats), 




Mountain Biking, 

Rugby, Others. 


There are risks my friend.  I am happy to see this issue raised, discussed, and continue to be looked at.  And with the data as it stands today, won't let my boys play football until at least 8th grade.  But if they prefer soccer or hockey or any of the other sports above, I'll be just as vigilant on what the data says from those communities re. concussions. 


January 7th, 2016 at 12:32 PM ^





Those are the three from your list that are in the same ballpark or worse than football.


By the time I graduated HS I had suffered 2 concussion playing football, and probably close to 10 from snowboarding.


I wear a helmet now.


January 7th, 2016 at 1:15 PM ^

Did most of the concussions you had while snowboarding happen from doing jumps, rails, and things of that nature?

I don't know the exact statistics, but I wouldn't figure concussion rates for skiing/snowboarding are quite on par with football. Although one exception could be the subset of people that do mostly terrain park stuff and/or really intense backcountry riding.


January 7th, 2016 at 5:56 PM ^

"Did most of the concussions you had while snowboarding happen from doing jumps, rails, and things of that nature?"

Not a single one came from doing jumps, rails, and things of that nature.


Every one was the result catching a downhill edge at speed and getting the back of my head slammed into the slope.


Like this:



January 7th, 2016 at 10:16 AM ^

There was an "Attack on Football" post on 12/22 that went into this already.  I'll just reiterate what I wrote there:

I saw Concussion two nights ago at a private event (my wife happens to be related to Jordyn Wieber, who was having a pre-screening in the Lansing area).  

To me, this isn't really a "spoiler" type movie... we're not talking Star Wars here.  Concussion is a "message" movie; but if you're an "OMG NO SPOILERS!!!" type, I'll try to not get into specifics, but you might want to move past this post.  

The movie, surprisingly to me, really explored the more nefarious lengths the NFL went to in order to "surpress" the Omalu findings.  I thought it would gloss over some of those things as (at least I *thought*) that the NFL gave some sort of tacit "nod" to allowing the movie to be made... i.e. the league didn't "endorse" it, but didn't fight it; presumably with the understanding that it wouldn't get "smeared" too bad in the film.  Well... the film smears them pretty good.  So, my assumption there was wrong.

To appeal to a wider audience, the film incorporates a "love story" element for Omalu, with a lot of "pep talks" from his significant other.  These, to me, watered things down a touch.  I would have preferred a more documentary type style.  Movies often have to spoon feed audiences information to get them up to speed, and you feel that happening here.  A necessary device no doubt, but it creates a melodrama that, given the subject matter, probably wasn't necessary. There's a religious bent and a "what it means to be an American message" that I, personally, also found to be distracting.   

None-the-less, I was surprised at the shots that are taken at the NFL concerning harrassing Omalu, strong arm tactics, siccing the FBI on Dr. Wecht, surpressing what they knew and how long they knew it... towards the end it feels as though a compromise is reached along the lines of "so long as the players understand the risks they're taking, and we're not hiding it anymore, things will improve" but then the movie closes with a high school practice where two kids collide helmet to helmet.  That's the movie's final message; along with a statistic that 28% of all NFL players will encounter some form of CTE in their lifetime, per scientific estimates.  The movie makes you think, but it wasn't so immensely compelling that it will serve to drive the narrative any further than it was already destined to go.  You learn that it was the death of Dave Duerson that really forced the league to open up.

We already know that a culture change, in addition to rules changes, will have to occur for the sport to thrive long term.  Classic tackling and blocking techniques often put the "attacker" at risk.  The old "hat and hands!!" mantra will have to go away.  But more importantly, making unnecessary contact with an opponents head will need to simply be unnacceptable on a player to player level.  It will need more of that hockey mentality of "there are some things that are bush league - some things you just don't do" type of understanding.  

M Dude in Portlandia

January 7th, 2016 at 10:41 AM ^

Thank you!

I can definitely see the one side - a place to legally impose your will on others, as one poster mentioned: me, I kinda kept that to the chessboard myself - sorry nerd alert, full disclosure.

I also applaud the Harbaugh brothers in their defense against the attack on football - it's a great sport which happens to use bodies up in the march forward of its contribution to mankind's evolution by the establishment of this particular sports institution.

I definitely want to see this film and I hate the lack of transparency in our institutions from politics to anything which makes money and sees the need to lie to people about what is going on inside.

I recently read, "You're Okay, it's Just a Bruise" by Rob Huizenga former team doctor of the LA Raiders. Aside from his inside story on Alzado and Al Davis the thing that really stood out to me was how Al "Just win baby" Davis had set up an incompetent yes man team orthopedist (at least in Huizenga's view) to regularly lie to the players and get them back on the field as soon as possible. You see the buffering and the denial here as well as you see it in politics, organized crime, all facets of life which have a job to do which they don't want others to know how it is being done.

I absolutely love JH. And I applaud a person like him who still wants to get in there and play the game at his age. But there have been abuses - players have been lied to. Bodies have been used up unnecessarily and I'm glad to see that the mask is coming off and I hope it makes this game we love a bit safer.

And I stoically add up all the bad calls we get in our karma bank but I do hope they get a handle on this Targeting bullshit rule and the way it keeps going against us.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:18 AM ^

I was drug out to see this on christmas day and The Big Short on New Years.  I would have to say that the big short was really good, and I would highly recommend it.  Concussion was good, I guess.  I originally thought it was a comedy when I saw the previews, just from the fact the Will Smith's African accent is hilariously bad, and Luke Wilson was playing Roger Goodell, which is pretty laughable.  All jokes aside, and even though I had no interest in seeing this movie, it was pretty good.   I don't know if it's a movie that the wife would like though.  


January 7th, 2016 at 10:45 AM ^

remember the last time I saw a movie in the theater completely for my own "purposes" and not due to my son.  I saw Star Wars with him and it was cool but would not have seen it without him.  As far as just going to the movie to see a movie for myself, man, I cannot even remember.  I was going to see Birdman but it was already out on video before I was set to make the move. 

The Mad Hatter

January 7th, 2016 at 10:59 AM ^

That was the last movie I saw in a theater by choice.  I went on opening day to a midnight showing and the place was full of WWII vets, some wearing their old uniforms and even more with medals on.

It was pretty intense.


January 7th, 2016 at 11:07 AM ^

remembered.  The Departed.  That is the last movie I saw in the theater for myself, so it has been ever a longer hiatus for you.

Watched SPR for the first time in a long time this past weekend.  The best parts of that movie are the little details.  Damon telling Hanks the story of his last night before basic.  The discussion in the unit of the merits of the mission.  It is easy to get caught up so much in the battle stuff that you miss the little stuff.

The Mad Hatter

January 7th, 2016 at 11:21 AM ^

With the little details.  The story itself was a little absurd, but I thought it was well acted and a lot of those old guys in the theater shed some tears.  I'd say it's in the top 5-10 of all time great war movies.