'Concussion' Author Leery of NFL Leadership; the Author Behind the Best-Selling Book and Movie "Concussion" Said Thursday She Was "Not Trying to Kill Football" by Shining the Light on the Brain Injuries Suffered by Professional Players, as Well as Athletes of Other Sports. [Derived Headline]

By Napsha, Joe | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 21, 2016 | Go to article overview

'Concussion' Author Leery of NFL Leadership; the Author Behind the Best-Selling Book and Movie "Concussion" Said Thursday She Was "Not Trying to Kill Football" by Shining the Light on the Brain Injuries Suffered by Professional Players, as Well as Athletes of Other Sports. [Derived Headline]


Napsha, Joe, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


The author behind the best-selling book and movie "Concussion" said Thursday she was "not trying to kill football" by shining the light on the brain injuries suffered by professional players, as well as athletes of other sports.

But Jeanne Marie Laskas told more than 70 people attending a program at California University of Pennsylvania that she doesn't believe the National Football League is "taking a responsible leadership position" on researching player brain injuries.

Her book about former Pittsburgh forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu and his discovery of the traumatic effects of repeated concussions on the brains of NFL football players was made into the popular 2015 movie starring Will Smith.

Omalu, working under famed forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, figured out that "it is the repetitive hits that cause this constant, constant, constant rattling of the brain, that cause this disease, this CTE," Laskas said, referring to the progressive degenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

While working at the then-Allegheny County Coroner's Office, Omalu performed tests and research on the brain of former Pittsburgh Steeler "Iron" Mike Webster. Webster died in 2002 at 50 after suffering for years from the debilitating effects of brain damage from thousands of blows to his head while an offensive lineman.

Laskas, director of the University of Pittsburgh's writing program, said many of the NFL players are aware they could suffer the common injuries of broken bones and knee injuries if they play the sport, but she did not think they decided to make football a career "knowing I could lose my mind."

Speaking as a fan, Laskas admitted she watches the Steelers, but not from the perspective "knowing in 10 years one of my favorite players could end up like Mike Webster. …

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'Concussion' Author Leery of NFL Leadership; the Author Behind the Best-Selling Book and Movie "Concussion" Said Thursday She Was "Not Trying to Kill Football" by Shining the Light on the Brain Injuries Suffered by Professional Players, as Well as Athletes of Other Sports. [Derived Headline]
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