Concussion

Concussion

By Jeanne Marie Laskas

  • Release Date: 2015-11-24
  • Genre: Football
Score: 4.5
4.5
From 45 Ratings
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Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Now a major motion picture starring Will Smith, Concussion is the riveting, unlikely story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who made one of the most significant medical discoveries of the twenty-first century, a discovery that challenges the existence of America’s favorite sport and puts Omalu in the crosshairs of football’s most powerful corporation: the NFL.
 
Jeanne Marie Laskas first met the young forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu in 2009, while reporting a story for GQ that would go on to inspire the movie Concussion. Omalu told her about a day in September 2002, when, in a dingy morgue in downtown Pittsburgh, he picked up a scalpel and made a discovery that would rattle America in ways he’d never intended. Omalu was new to America, chasing the dream, a deeply spiritual man escaping the wounds of civil war in Nigeria. The body on the slab in front of him belonged to a fifty-year-old named Mike Webster, aka “Iron Mike,” a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the greatest ever to play the game. After retiring in 1990, Webster had suffered a dizzyingly steep decline. Toward the end of his life, he was living out of his van, tasering himself to relieve his chronic pain, and fixing his rotting teeth with Super Glue. How did this happen?, Omalu asked himself. How did a young man like Mike Webster end up like this? The search for answers would change Omalu’s life forever and put him in the crosshairs of one of the most powerful corporations in America: the National Football League. What Omalu discovered in Webster’s brain—proof that Iron Mike’s mental deterioration was no accident but a disease caused by blows to the head that could affect everyone playing the game—was the one truth the NFL wanted to ignore.
 
Taut, gripping, and gorgeously told, Concussion is the stirring story of one unlikely man’s decision to stand up to a multibillion-dollar colossus, and to tell the world the truth.
 
Advance praise for Concussion
 
“A gripping medical mystery and a dazzling portrait of the young scientist no one wanted to listen to . . . a fabulous, essential read.”—Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“The story of Dr. Bennet Omalu’s battle against the NFL is classic David and Goliath stuff, and Jeanne Marie Laskas—one of my favorite writers on earth—makes it as exciting as any great courtroom or gridiron drama. A riveting, powerful human tale—and a master class on how to tell a story.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
 
“Bennet Omalu forced football to reckon with head trauma. The NFL doesn’t want you to hear his story, but Jeanne Marie Laskas makes it unforgettable. This book is gripping, eye-opening, and full of heart.”—Emily Bazelon, author of Sticks and Stones

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Reviews

  • Man vs MultiBillion Colossus

    5
    By Dking08
    Such an amazing story of a man dreaming big in the sense of saving lives and using science to justify his actions. An amazing story here was said and to be recognize by anyone who plays sports; Also another reason can be said from how creating a "cover-up" can be made to make a company who owns a day off a week, anything for business. On the other hand this movie portrays Health. People need to know what their going into when they play sports besides the injuries that can be seen and be cautions off things internally. The Truth hurts but it saves lives; And Science proves this from Dr. Omalu study!!!
  • Wow.

    5
    By HotKarll
    Gives you a whole new viewpoint on how the nfl tried to cover itself. Very well written. On to the movie....
  • A MUST READ

    5
    By Isisunit
    I would like to thank Random House Publishing & NetGalley for giving me a copy of this e-ARC to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. Goodreads Teaser: "Soon to be a major motion picture starring Will Smith, Concussion is the riveting, unlikely story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who made one of the most significant medical discoveries of the twenty-first century, a discovery that challenges the existence of America’s favorite sport and puts Omalu in the crosshairs of football’s most powerful corporation: the NFL. Jeanne Marie Laskas first met the young forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu in 2009, while reporting a story for GQ that would go on to inspire the movie Concussion. Omalu told her about a day in September 2002, when, in a dingy morgue in downtown Pittsburgh, he picked up a scalpel and made a discovery that would rattle America in ways he’d never intended. Omalu was new to America, chasing the dream, a deeply spiritual man escaping the wounds of civil war in Nigeria. The body on the slab in front of him belonged to a fifty-year-old named Mike Webster, aka “Iron Mike,” a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the greatest ever to play the game. After retiring in 1990, Webster had suffered a dizzyingly steep decline. Toward the end of his life, he was living out of his van, tasering himself to relieve his chronic pain, and fixing his rotting teeth with Super Glue. How did this happen?, Omalu asked himself. How did a young man like Mike Webster end up like this? The search for answers would change Omalu’s life forever and put him in the crosshairs of one of the most powerful corporations in America: the National Football League. What Omalu discovered in Webster’s brain—proof that Iron Mike’s mental deterioration was no accident but a disease caused by blows to the head that could affect everyone playing the game—was the one truth the NFL wanted to ignore. Taut, gripping, and gorgeously told, Concussion is the stirring story of one unlikely man’s decision to stand up to a multibillion-dollar colossus, and to tell the world the truth." I wasn't sure what I'd make of this story since I'm not really a big football fan (gasp!), but to my pleasant surprise I quite enjoyed it. Not only did Laskas infuse the story with a sense of urgency, she managed to show the big picture of the NFL's continued cover-up while still keeping the story grounded through Dr. Omalu's life. Initially I was a bit confused by the many details of Dr. Omalu's life, how it seemed to be a biography of his life rather than of his work, but luckily his life was more than interesting enough to keep my attention. And having that background was extremely useful when the story did begin moving into the territory of concussions and the NFL's disavowal of the damage they were causing the players. Laskas could have gone for traditional gambits to hook the reader into some major courtroom battle, or or glorified methods of getting this story across. Instead, much like her subject Dr. Bennet Omalu, she keeps to the daily, personal aspects of this compelling story. There is more than enough real drama happening that there is never a need to create something that isn't there. By sticking to the personal stories and accounts of those involved Laskas has done an excellent job of bringing this unlikely whistle-blower, and in my eyes a hero, to the forefront, giving him the recognition he deserves. Staying so deep within individuals' stories made this book fly by, and gave me a real sense of the horrors that players and their families, as well as others who cared about them, endured with no understanding of what was happening to their husbands, fathers, sons, brothers. Having to watch your 40 year old husband, the father of your kids, go down a road you can't walk with them, or bring them back from, is a hell that no one deserves. A hell that is finally being explained in mass media, though Dr. Omalu identified the truth of this danger years ago. This book is one I'd recommend every parent read before allowing their child to play football at any age.

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