Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas, Instaread summary and analysis
Five out of five stars
This summary describes a book that is part biography and a lot about how economic power can be used and misused to deny a clear reality. In many ways, this is a summary of an incredible David vs. Goliath story.
Dr. Benet Omalu is a physician specializing in forensic work that immigrated from Nigeria to the United States. He was protected by his parents growing up and had suffered from depression for most of his life. In a quirk of fate, he was given the opportunity to examine the brain of (Iron) Mike Webster, a star offensive lineman for the powerful Pittsburgh Steeler football teams of the 1970’s. In his last years, Webster exhibited a series of bizarre behaviors.
Omalu recognized the presence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in Webster’s brain, generally this appears as a result of repeated head trauma. This finding led to an epic battle where the National Football League (NFL) used its tremendous financial clout to try to discredit Omalu’s findings, they used many dirty tricks in their battle to deny that former football players often suffer from brain damage. Ultimately, the NFL was forced to admit that many former players suffered from CTE, a disease for which there is no cure.
Omalu also experienced overt and subtle racism as he tried to live a life as a professional black man. Given his sense of aloneness, depression and vulnerability as an immigrant, it is amazing that Dr. Omalu was able to stand his ground and eventually be vindicated.
Even though the summary has an official length of only 22 pages, it is so well done that you feel you could pass an exam over the contents of the entire book.
This book was made available for free for review purposes