I recently finished reading a book titled Concussion, which in its theatrical form stars actor Will Smith. I have not seen the film. I picked up the book for a single dollar at none other than “The Dollar Store.” Call me cheap. I won’t take any offense.
I knew a little bit about the context of the book before I opened it. Something about concussions and the National Football League (NFL), and some doctor that made some findings that made a lot of people upset. Then I began to read the book, and I quickly learned about many former NFL players suffering from things like early onset Alzheimer’s disease, full-blown dementia, brain damage, and things like substance abuse and explosive tendencies.
There is this idea that too many hits to the head, even the most subtle ones experienced in day-to-day practice, may lead to changes in personality.
The man, the doctor, the immigrant — Bennet Omalu –who came from Nigeria and who deserves credit for the discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). His battle with the NFL would go on for years. Many things hidden from the public. It is a great story of a man’s purpose and passion to HELP. A story of people who want to hide the truth, primarily because of money. A story of many families broken because of an illness that no one wanted to talk about, or at the very least, believe was due to playing contact sports and taking repeated hits to the head.
He hardly gets any credit for his work, and he comes to realize that not getting the credit is okay — unfortunate — but okay.
Being on the “sidelines,” or the “outskirts” does not mean that you are not valued. If there is a way to make an impact while going unnoticed, then why not do it?
The important thing is the discovery, or the contribution we make, not the acclaim we receive. What those things can do for the world, and how it can help people. It is not about YOU or ME. We are just the messenger.
Dr. Omalu brought me back to this reality by what he did.