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 11:33 AM ^

2. Apocalypse Now

3. The Thin Red Line

4. Saving Private Ryan

5. Glory

I am admittedly not able to adequately comment on movies like All Quiet on the Western Front, Bridge on the Rivew Kwai and some other because it was a different time and the movies are just different.  The Deer Hunter does not make the list because calling it a "war movie" is overly simplistic.  Both The Pacific and Band of Brothers may very well be in the Top 5 if they were 10 hour movies instead of TV show.

M go Bru

January 7th, 2016 at 10:29 AM ^

How does the movie compare with the documentary?

I have seen the PBS Frontline documentary League of Denial, but not the movie. Unfortunately  the documentary is not currently scheduled on wtvs.org. nor is it available to be viewed online. It was last aired in October. One can usually see it for an extended window of time online at your convenience when it is being broadcast on the air.

Its quite sad and disturbing.

A must see.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:36 AM ^

I went and saw this movie this past Saturday. I am currently a high school football coach and I, myself, have had four or five concussions in my lifetime through playing football. After seeing this movie I was generally shocked of all the ways the NFL tried to cover up this very serious issue. People who say this movie is a "money grab" or "a waste of time" are wrong. The players who suffered from CTE in the movie (and in real life) sustained over 70,000 blows to the head throughout their life according to Dr. Bennet Omalu. That statistic included their pop warner, high school, college, and professional years. Personally, I believe it should be the kid's decsion on whether or not they want to play the game. In saying that though, as a parent you need to caution them on some of the dangers that football could cause. Altogether, I believe everyone should go see this movie because it was very well done. It is guaranteed to spark an interesting conversation once you're done seeing it.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:39 AM ^

a little dramatic and not an complete factual account of events. Read medical journals and other science literature if you want to be up to date on the issue.


January 7th, 2016 at 10:49 AM ^

I currently play football at a small college right now and we have a protocol that must be followed. Obviously no matter how great the equipment or protocol is it will not prevent a concussion.
As for the movie it did scare me but that's coming from guys that played in the NFL for years and years. That is over 20 years of football collectively.
On another note, for Lineman and guys mostly in the box that is where most of the brain injuries happen since they are hitting every single play. Sometimes out on the edge you go a few plays and drives where you do not get hit.


January 7th, 2016 at 12:13 PM ^

A lot of the variability regarding the extent to which people are affected is biological. It's possible to have two individuals that played the same duration of time, taking a similar amount of hard hits to the head, and then have one develop symptoms while the other is completely fine.

And while younger players certainly aren't as prone to debilitating CTE as veteran NFL guys, they aren't immune to it either. There was the OSU player who before committing suicide, said the "concussions have my brain so fucked up."

And this recent article discusses someone who passed away at only 25, in which a BU pathologist says "it was the worst CTE I've seen in an individual this young."
( http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/football-player-had-worst-bra… )

As you said, though, susceptibility also depends on the position played. Regardless, anyone that gets concussed multiple times and/or starts noticing cognitive difficulties, should have consultations with several specialists about continuing to play the game.

KC Wolve

January 7th, 2016 at 3:33 PM ^

Yep, he was from the KC area. Name was Michael Keck I believe. His story was featured recently in the KC star. I am on the app so I would guess you could google Michael Keck KC star or something. It is worth the read. Very sad story. This story is important because a lot of people respond to this issue by stating"my kid isn't playing in the NFL for 10 years". Those guys are a higher risk most likely but HS, college, and younger kids are at risk too.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Sextus Empiricus

January 7th, 2016 at 3:02 PM ^

there are rotational, direct, indirect, concussive and sub-concussive hits that vary by position.  Concussion is statistically as likely  at any football position as is CTE.  Of course there will be differences... statistically significant... not so much.  CTE is cuffed with very little data and poor datasets.  

The position thing is counter intuitive perhaps and continues to draw research dollars, but is also instructive and indicative of what is actually going on in the brain.  It's not simple.


January 7th, 2016 at 11:02 AM ^

Let's remember movie's are made to make money. It wasn't PBS. Did the NFL do things that shouldn't have been done? Yes. But this movie dramatizes everything so you sit on the edge of your seat. I guess I'm saying watch if you want but take it with a grain of salt unless you were there in the rooms with all the conversations. I don't know what really went on but I'm glad it's out in the light. I saw another REAL life story with the last Tom Hanks movie. Again, the central theme was right but the trimmings made it worth to see.


January 7th, 2016 at 11:18 AM ^

Wife and I liked the movie OK. It isn't going to great in the mainstream imo -- not enough action. Will Smith is pretty good and Alec Baldwin is good (as usual). It definitely has a bit of an agenda - part of that is to make the NFL or at least Goodell look bad - and is a classic little guy vs. the establishment movie.

I think it would have been nice if they had at least noted the changes in NFL rules, concussion protocol at all levels of the sport, changes in teaching at the youth league level or even the attention in other sports like soccer, but that was not the goal of the movie.


January 7th, 2016 at 11:25 AM ^

if youth flag football leagues are picking up steam compared to contact football? When I was a kid I hadn't even heard of FF leagues for kids (first I played organized FF was college), but in light of the past couple of years' worth of head trauma in the spotlight, wondering if leagues are popping up.

Re: the movie, overall pretty good. I was more interested in the science so I found the League of Denial Frontline special more illuminating, because I already think Roger Goodell and the NFL front office are so beyond contemptible the cover-up was just living down to expectations. Luke Wilson was a bit of an odd choice as casting goes. I kept waiting for someone to show up for the gangbang.


January 7th, 2016 at 4:13 PM ^

I've seen more gruesome injuries in flag, than in full contact. Young kids with less than developed body control running full speed at one another is a bad combo - teeth knocked out (with one embedded in another's skull) broken legs, dislocated shoulders, etc. Twin boys have played both since 6 years old (now 12). No issues for them in full contact or flag, but lots of experience tells me if forced to make a choice and child is average sized pads are way to go.


January 7th, 2016 at 11:57 AM ^

watching it after all of the buzz about it.  I am on Episode 4.  So far, I have to say that it is good but not that good.  From all of the review I have read you would have thought it was the best thing ever made.  It is certainly provocative and well made but I am not falling all over myself.


January 7th, 2016 at 11:33 AM ^

Asking a group of football fans what they thought about a movie that says football has killed a ton of people from CTE. Yeah, this conversation will be productive.


January 7th, 2016 at 12:07 PM ^

It's hard to believe (not really) how much pushback The League gave on this issue.  They did what they could to keep it under wrap but didn't last for long.  Good film. 


January 7th, 2016 at 12:08 PM ^

are an important issue that ought to be discussed.  However, the issues are complex, myriad, and often misrepresented.  



January 7th, 2016 at 12:28 PM ^

and so far, so good.   i think it's great that they are heightening awareness of the concussion issue, but not if they go so far the other way that they make everybody afraid of the game - i think there are credible stats showing that lots of other sports have concussion issues, for instance soccer has it bad.   nobody is pulling little sally or billy out of soccer just yet. 

take the movie with a grain of salt. 


January 7th, 2016 at 1:22 PM ^

I saw the movie and have been reading the related book - "League of Denial".  Like most book/movies, the book goes much further in depth and is really worth the read. 

For example, the in depth nature of the life of Mike Webster after football is beyond frightening.  While he was in pain at all times physically, his mental state far overshadowed his physical issues. 

Sextus Empiricus

January 7th, 2016 at 4:23 PM ^

It's based on this 2009 article in GQ http://www.gq.com/story/nfl-players-brain-dementia-study-memory-concussions by Jeanne Marie Laskas.

The author and the screenwiter wrote a book to match.

Agree on the quality of League of Denial, but it postdates the article.   

If you are looking for info... this movie is not going to help.  There's a culture war going on here and the movie adds to it.  There's also misinformation ... to which the movie contributes as well.


January 7th, 2016 at 2:30 PM ^

Ages 20-60. Despite being in her 50s she was an aggressive player. Got bumped, knocked down, hit her head on the grass. Jumped up, with a "bit of a headache". Finished the game,. Husband, a surgeon, dropped her off at home and headed in to the hospital. Her headache got worse and she started having vision problems. She wisely called an ambulance. Diagnosed with a brain aneurysm requiring emergency surgery. Three operations and a year later she's fine, but it was a very near thing. 

She doesn't play flag football anymore. Point is that everyday life is full of risks. Each of us decides, consciously or not, the level of perceived risk to which we're will to expose ourselves or our dependents. The research into reducing potential injuries in contact sports is a good thing. If you think football is too risky for you or yours then don't play.  


January 7th, 2016 at 2:33 PM ^

See the movie. Think about the issues. But realize there is a lot of heat out there with this topic right now. There is no consensus, even among doctors.

For instance, Dr. Omalu, one of the main characters in this story, recently wrote an opinion that no one under 18 should be allowed to play football, because of the threat of injury.

On the other hand, Dr. Bailes, another main character in this story (and a real life doctor in Evanston, IL), says in response:

I'm the medical director of Pop Warner football. They don't pay me, but I do it because of my love and respect for the sport. I respectfully disagree with (Omalu) on this. I don't think there's any evidence that CTE has ever occurred just from playing youth football, so I don't think there's any evidence to support a position that football needs to be banned until you're in college. I think that would incidentally destroy the sport.

You need to be wise about this. My son is still playing football, and plans to continue next year. We allow him to play. But we recognize there is some risk from CTE. We also have the rule that should he ever have a single clear and significant concussion, his playing days should probably be over. (I say "clear and significant" because we have learned that there may now be too MUCH caution, out of fear on the issue).

You can't underestimate the issues, and there is definitely a lot yet to learn. But just like pretending lead in the Flint water is not really a problem, it is folly to pretend that concussions and CTE aren't really a problem.

Sextus Empiricus

January 7th, 2016 at 3:31 PM ^


There are multiple cases of youth football players with CTE.

Isaac Harding was the youngest documented CTE victim (as of a couple years ago at least) - at 14...

There are many others.  Definitely good to be wise.  Bailes is not wise here, Cantu is.  Omalu.. that's another story.

I wouldn't see this movie if you are interested in the facts...my opinion only.  Yes I have seen it.