Like religion, sport and its culture often act as the magnet that brings together individuals, families and whole communities. To criticise either, can put you in the firing line of some pretty passionate objection. Will Smith (Dyslexic) found this out first hand when he took on the role of Dr. Bennet Omalu, in his latest biopic, ‘Concussion.’
If you need any assistance when reading this post please note Browsealoud is installed on this site. Click the headphone logo in the top left corner of the screen to launch the assistive toolbar.
In ‘Concussion’ Smith plays real life forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. While conducting an autopsy on NFL legend Mike Webster. Omalu discovers, the impact trauma associated with the sport can cause neurological deterioration similar to that of Alzheimer’s. When Dr. Omalu publishes his findings and campaigns to raise awareness . The NFL aggressively deny and try to silence his findings with grave consequences for his colleagues and family.
Over the years Smith has impressively shed the ‘smooth talking, ladies’ man’ typecasting of his early career. As he matures as a man and an actor, he is consistently nailing some solid and believable performances, especially when it comes to his portrayal of real life figures. By all accounts Smith seems to have embraced the role of Dr. Omalu. Even so, this was a role that smith was initially apprehensive about taking on. “I was deeply conflicted about this. I’m a football dad, I grew up in Philly with my Philadelphia Eagles and there was a part of me that did not want to be the guy that brought this information out” (Smith).
The controversy that this film stirs, somewhat fuels the flames of the debate currently raging around safety in U.S. football. But for Smith the films subject matter caused an uneasiness much closer to home. When thinking about his own son’s stint as a U.S. football player Smith recalls, “We were concerned about him braking a leg…we were concerned about spinal injury, that was the big thing, but not once in the four years that he played, did it