How Chris Nowinski Describes the Fractured Concussion Debate, And How I Do

Bennet Omalu Foundation’s Hybrid ‘T22’ Model Exposes Mixed Messages of Someone Who Should Be Speaking With Full Throat As a Public Intellectual
January 7, 2016
On Eve of State of the Union, Know That ‘Concussion’ Hero Bennet Omalu Was Always Better Connected Than He Let On
January 11, 2016

by Irvin Muchnick


Nowinski, quoted in the Washington Post,


“We’ve been doing this dance for 10 years. We know their moves before they do….  Where this is getting really bad is the NFL is pouring more money into marketing the game to children, for playing it, not just for watching it.

I think when we look back in 10 years, we’re going to say that was the stake that, if the game goes south, undid the game. The NFL needed to say, ‘This is an adult game. It’s a dangerous game, but adults can do dangerous things.’ The fact that they’re trying to recruit our five-year olds into banging heads hundreds of times based on really terrible interpretations of modern science is shameful.”




Me, “ICYMI: Our Series on How the ‘Concussion’ Movie Devolved From a Humanist Project to a Money Grab” (with complete links at


In 2007, the time of the double murder-suicide of WWE’s Chris Benoit, there was a vision of a public campaign to use the cluster of findings of ex-Pittsburgh Steelers players to make everyone fully aware, not just vaguely aware, that in this important way football = boxing. But Bennet Omalu et al. broke up with Chris Nowinski et al., and the campaign devolved into a turf war.

Aided by various factors, including a narrative of exile superior to others’, Omalu’s image-makers crafted the movie we see today. They won the turf war. But the campaign?…

Concussion seems to be tanking at the box office, and there is no shame in that. The film is out there and has made a dent, and will always be around in video making a dent.

The unfortunate thing is that Omalu the egomaniac (or, more charitably, the well-meaning humanist seduced by the Hollywood treatment) has set back the public campaign. Too eager for personal absolution, even the most dissident of former National Football Leaguers now might not grasp that the campaign is not about them, either. It is not about safety, but about the size and scope of the tackle football industry, which reaches down, immorally, to millions of kids.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick