Tag Archives: movie

Will Smith to Deliver Keynote at 2016 BIO International Convention

Will Smith, the critically acclaimed star of the film “Concussion”, will headline the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO) International Convention in San Francisco (June 6-9) with a keynote address and moderated discussion on Tuesday, June 7. In “Concussion”, Smith played Dr. Bennet Omalu, best known for his discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disorder caused by repeatedly hard hits to the head. The discovery has led to a nationwide discussion of the potential risks for both amateur and professional football players. Smith’s performance was nominated for several awards including a golden globe for Best Actor.

Omalu will also be in attendance with Smith for an interview with Jim Greenwood, BIO’s President and Chief Executive Officer. The conversation will explore what led Smith to take on the role of the forensic pathologist and Omalu’s research on CTE.

“It is an exciting opportunity to have Will Smith and Dr. Omalu at BIO’s 2016 International Convention,” said Greenwood. “Smith is universally known and respected, having excelled in so many areas of entertainment from acting to music to writing. I am looking forward to having a spirited and lively discussion with Mr. Smith and Dr. Omalu about their work.”


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Canadian Lawyer Puts Concussion Movie in Context

By Cynthia P. Carels, of Miller Thomson

Concussion, the latest movie by actor Will Smith, opened in theatres across North America over the recent holiday season, and has stirred up plenty of discussion about head injuries. The story behind the movie focuses on the research of Dr. Bennet Omalu, regarding the damage professional football players in the NFL were suffering from repeated hits to the head. In 2015, a federal court judge approved a class-action lawsuit settlement agreement applying to thousands of NFL players who developed serious medical conditions as a result of their career-related head trauma.

In Canada, a 2015 Coroner’s Inquest in Ontario also examined the issue of concussion in the context of sport. 17 year old Rowan Kerry Stringer, the captain of her Varsity rugby team, passed away on May 12, 2013 after a series of game related head injuries caused severe swelling to her brain. In the Stringer Inquest, concussion was described as “an invisible injury … often not recognized as being a serious condition with potentially severe consequences, despite many initiatives to change this perspective.” These consequences can include (amongst other things) headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, impaired attention span, mood swings, memory loss, and even death.

Many strides have been made in our understanding of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) since the events depicted in Concussion. Even still, it can be challenging to sort out their impact in the context of a personal injury claim. Plaintiffs may have pre-existing conditions at play that have been aggravated by an accident.  Some victims may even be in denial about their symptoms, or have no personal insight, while their family members complain about significant personality changes after a loved one’s trauma.

Neuropsychologists are experts with specialized training regarding brain structure and systems and their connection to behaviour and thinking. Neuropsychological testing can be very helpful in determining the damages a head injury has caused, and how it may impact a victim’s career, home life, and even recreational activities.

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Observations After Seeing a Screening of Concussion

Good movie.

For the most part, it was pretty authentic to what actually happened in the years leading up to the present. It showed the strengths AND weaknesses of the characters, such as Omalu. And it took the NFL to task, deservedly so. I know Dave Duerson’s family was not happy with the portrayel of Duerson, but I found it to be realistic, given his role with the league.

There were moments in the movie that will stick, such as the scene involving Duerson and Andre Waters and the final scene in the movie, which was absolutely haunting.

If there is a message I hope people come away with it is the arrogance of the league and its employees during that time. Does the arrogance remain? I think so.

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