Dr. Omalu speaks with Stone Phillips in San Fransisco
“Do you feel as if you are in the belly of the beast?” Stone Philips asked as the first question he posed to Dr. Bennet Omalu in San Francisco, just days before the Superbowl. If you are wondering why those names sound familiar, they should. Stone Philips is a television reporter and correspondent and former co-anchor to Dateline NBC. Dr. Bennet Omalu is now a more recognized name because of the movie “Concussion” in which Will Smith portrays his character. Dr. Omalu’s autopsy on Mike Webster, a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburg Steelers, was perplexing to the doctor and made him look further into repetitive head trauma and long-term cognitive impairment.
February 4, 2016 marked a great opportunity to not only visit with other AT’s outside our normal sports fields and gyms, but to go and listen to Dr. Omalu speak passionately about his life, his experiences and the road he traveled to identify and name Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Dr. Omalu spoke about how he used his MBA degree and knowledge to come up with this name. It needed to be widely accepted and recognized and it also helps if there is an acronym that easily rolls off the tongue.
Dr. Omalu spoke about growing up in Nigeria, following his brother around. The two could not be separated, which is why Dr. Omalu started school at the age of 3, as he could not stand to be away from his older brother. He spoke candidly about depression and how it has affected his life. He stated that he happened to be the medical examiner on call on the weekends because he had no life and that is how he came meet Mike Webster.
For 90 minutes, Dr. Omalu and Philips held the audience with their stories. After their discussion, the audience was able to ask questions. One of which spoke about heading a soccer ball and if that could potentially cause CTE. Not enough studies have occurred but Dr. Omalu thinks that there is the possibility. At the conclusion, Dr. Omalu stayed for a while to sign autographs at the Nourse Theatre. Some of the CATA managing board members and some Sacramento State students were even able to get a quick photo with Dr. Omalu. All in all, it was well worth the trip and insight was gained to all who attended.
Courtesy of Jamie DeRollo, CATA Secretary & FWATA College and University Committee Chair