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    Here’s how Will Smith is checking on his son’s football games

    NBC's "73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards" - Arrivals

    Bennet Omalu

    IF you have a son who likes football or boxing, then Concussion is for you. The Will Smith-starrer that released in the US last year, but never made it to Indian theatres, will air on TV this weekend. Drawing a parallel between CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and the occurence of repeated blows to the head in high-impact sports made Dr Bennet Omalu rather unpopular across the sports fraternity. Now, a decade since his discovery and a year after the film, he tells us how life has changed, and why this movie is a must-watch for parents.
    Will Smith didn’t want to play the role. But he asked to have dinner with me. Instead of a simple meal, we ended up spending five hours. As his son plays football, he realised that his son might be damaging hisbrain, and that if he as a parent didn’t realise that his child is damaging his health, many other parents like him wouldn’t know either. He also wanted to experience it for the role. So I set up a date. He asked a lot of questions and handled it well. It has translated beautifully through his portrayal in the movie.

    I get emails from players all over the world who play high-impact contact sports. The letters are very painful. Many of them reach out to me for help. However, this is not curable, once the damage is done, it can’t be rectified.
    At least till the age of 12, don’t let your kids play high-impact sports like ice hockey, boxing or Mixed Martial Arts. Protect your child’s brain, so he can go to college and become a scientist or whatever he wants to become.
    Concussion airs on Sony Le PLEX HD at 1pm and 9pm on Sunday, December 18.

    — Sonali Shenoy

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