Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Memoir Monday... Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas... 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.

In sports, you hear horror stories about steroid use and the after effects, and a myriad of other drugs, but you never hear too much about concussions. Boxer Muhammed Ali's form of Parkinson's disease was blamed on injuries to the brain caused by fighting, but even then traumatic brain injury was not heard too loudly. This book seems to bring light to a delicate subject and maybe one we should be talking about more with our children who play these contact sports.

Further reading... Before the book, in 2009, Jeanne Marie Laskas published a story in GQ magazine called, Bennet Omalu, Concussions, and the NFL: How One Doctor Changed Football Forever about Dr. Bennet Omalu. And in 2011, she wrote another story for GQ called The People versus Football about Star linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings, Fred McNeill, and how repeated concussions altered his life. These brain injuries are frightening, heartbreaking, sad and devastating for the men and the families of these men.

Reading right now and not what I expected. Dr. Omalu is very interesting and his background is amazing. Will be reviewing this soon...

1 comment:

thecuecard said...

This is scary. I admittedly like watching football -- but I think CTE in players really changes things. Or will in the future of the NFL. Maybe more will retire earlier and more findings will be made. I'm sure this Doctor was very courageous in standing up for his findings.

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