By EMMA COURT REPORTER
The Sony Pictures Entertainment movie follows protagonist Will Smith as he discovers a degenerative brain disease in a former National Football League player on his autopsy table.Smith’s character, the Nigerian-born doctor Bennet Omalu, then must battle the powerful football league to share his findings with the public.
For sports lovers, the Christmas Day film from writer-director Peter Landesman, based on a true story, has troubling implications for a major U.S. sport.
But many of the half-dozen concussion experts interviewed by MarketWatch for this article were dismayed by the movie’s science — and concerned that viewers could walk away with inaccurate, and even damaging, information.
Here are six points about “Concussion” courtesy of concussion experts, not Hollywood:
‘Concussion’ isn’t about concussions
You might not have bought a movie ticket for “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy,” but that is the actual syndrome at the heart of the movie: a brain disease found in patients with a history of repetitive hits to the head.
Yes, CTE is connected to concussions. But scientists don’t yet know the exact nature of the relationship between the two.
Dr. Omalu didn’t discover, or name, CTE
Scientists have known about this pattern of abnormal brain cells since the 1920s, when it was discovered in boxers, according to Dr. William Barr, director of neuropsychology at NYU Langone Medical Center.
The term CTE has also been used for decades.
Omalu’s discovery of the link with football was “significant,” though “he’s not the one who discovered the disease,” Barr said.
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