The ‘Concussion’ Scientist Has A Radical Proposition For Football

In an op-ed for The New York Times published Monday, a forensic pathologist by the name of Bennet Omalu argued for a unique approach to football’s concussion crisis: Require children to reach the legal age of consent before they can play the sport.

We have a legal age for drinking alcohol; for joining the military; for voting; for smoking; for driving; and for consenting to have sex,” he wrote. “We must have the same when it comes to protecting the organ that defines who we are as human beings.”

You might not know Omalu’s name off the bat, but if you’ve turned on the TV in the last month, you likely know some version of his story. Omalu is the basis of Will Smith’s character in the upcoming film “Concussion,” which depicts Omalu’s fight to prove that NFL players develop the brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) as a direct result of football — a link the league famously tried to discredit.

Omalu argued in the op-ed that requiring children to reach a legal age before they can play football would allow them to make the decision themselves, as adults, rather than be pressured by parents and prospective coaches, as children. In a conversation with HuffPost earlier this year, Omalu made a similar point, focusing on asbestos.

“In the ‘70s, we used asbestos as an industrial product. Today, we do not use asbestos any longer because we know that asbestos causes cancer,” Omalu told HuffPost. “Why would the risk of traumatic brain injury be different? Knowing what we know now, it is my opinion that we should at least let children reach the age of consent, be educated as adults, informed as adults and let them make their personal decision as adults [as to] whether —> Read More