Opinion: ‘Concussion’ doctor Bennet Omalu on O.J.’s brain and why he won’t be watching the Super Bowl


Vince Lombardi coached the first Super Bowl-winning football team, the Green Bay Packers. And he famously said, “Football is not a contact sport; it’s a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.” A half-century on, as Super Bowl 50 is about to be played, the human toll of those jarring collisions is attracting the scrutiny of players, doctors, fans and the NFL itself. But perhaps no one has looked more closely, more urgently, than Dr. Bennet Omalu.

He is the Nigerian-born forensic pathologist who’s now chief medical examiner in San Joaquin County, and a professor at UC Davis. His story’s told in the book and the film “Concussion.” He’d been in the United States only about eight years when he performed an autopsy that would shake his life as much as football shook the life, and the brain, of that man on the autopsy table. Omalu’s diagnosis? A degenerative brain disease he came to called CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy – in lay language, it’s what happens to you when you play a sport where your head gets banged over and over and over again.

Read the transcript of this interview here.


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