Football Notes: ‘Concussion’ Movie Controversy Hype, ‘New’ CTE Brain Findings, ‘Old’ Matt Chaney Research on What Has Been Long Known

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CONCUSSION INC.: The End of Football As We Know It is available, in either book or Kindle ebook form, at For the $19.95 list price, you also can order an autographed copy with free shipping in the U.S., by sending a check or money order to Irvin Muchnick, P.O. Box 9629, Berkeley, CA 94709, or remitting that amount via PayPal to [email protected] (Canadian orders, add $12.00 US for shipping. All other foreign orders, add $20.00 US for shipping.)

by Irvin Muchnick


The start of the football season has brought the usual chorus of health stories that go in one helmet earhole and out the other. A quick roundup:

* On September 10, just before the Patriots and the Steelers kicked off, Jim Richards of Toronto’s NewsTalk1010 had me on to talk about the leaked documents from Sony Pictures that show the pressure being brought to bear on the producers to tone down the upcoming movie Concussion.

I’m not sure I cooperated to Jim’s satisfaction, because my expectations for the film in which Will Smith portrays Dr. Bennet Omalu are low in the first place. I noted that, NFL influence or not, Concussion is likely to stick to the heroes-and-villains formula of The Insider (the tobacco flick that starred Al Pacino as Serpico — oh sorry, I got my video memes mixed up).

Busting the chops of my friend Dr. Omalu — the groundbreaking discoverer of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in dead football players — I noted that Will Smith will be making a play for an Oscar with a bad West African accent. I added that the movie portrayal in which I’m most interested is Arliss Howard as Dr. Joe Maroon, Omalu’s research nemesis and the bête noire of my own newest book, CONCUSSION INC.: The End of Football As We Know It.

You can hear my 9-minute clip on NewsTalk1010 at


* Boston University announced this week that Dr. Ann McKee now has found CTE in the brains of 96 percent — 87 out of the 91 — dead NFL players she examined.


* Historian-journalist-author Matt Chaney ( is still here to remind us that none of this is new. His latest compilation of headlines of age-old football industry suppression of facts, and promotion of concussion quackery, is now up to 1916, a mere 99 years ago.

1899: ‘Football Armor Develops With The Game’ NY Herald

1901: football helmet, pads, pants as weapons

1903: ‘players literally ram in hard-leather headgear’

1905: ‘Sixty-Two Colleges for Safer Football’–NCAA genesis

1908: football-concussed boy became ‘insane’ criminal, says father

1909.12.07 ‘headfirst flying tackle causes most injuries’

1909.12.13 ‘retain FB with necessary radical changes’ says Cornell nimwits

1910: ‘Football Still Fatal: Mass Plays Kill, Injure in St. Louis’

1910: ‘if player escapes concussion, mind’s healthy at season’s end’

1910: ‘easy to want safer football, difficult to effect it’ Stagg says

1910: ‘Rules Comm. Blames School Faculties for Injuries’

1910: ‘Safer football is like a cooler Hell’ newspaper cracks

1910: preps ban on head tackles, forward pass, DC area

1910: NCAA football ‘experts’ include sports editor-coach

1910: ‘Camp Suggests New Rules For Safer Football’

1911: ‘slight concussion,’ broken nose in youth-league FB

1913: headaches, concussions sideline Utah players

1913: ‘the four degrees of concussion in boxing’

1915: injurious college contest ‘clean throughout,’ coach says

1916: prep FB brain bleed, death of primitive medcare, Chicago metro

1916: lineman ‘out on his feet with slight concussion’ UChicago

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick