Slide1Seeing the movie Concussion is like seeing the new Star Wars movie, Omalu: The Force Awakens without watching the six previous films.

So based on Matt Chaney’s history of football, here the six movies that need to be made to bring the universe back in balance.

Episode I: Head Injury: The Phantom Menace

Based in the Greek and Roman times, the first film features the earliest doctors who wrote about head injuries in gladiators and soldiers. Even without modern medical equipment, doctors could “see” the phantom menace of invisible brain injury. And in this film, the helmet industry begins their two thousand year odyssey to find a better way to protect the head.  

Episode II: Knights in Armor or The Attack of the Clones

The second film, set in the Middle Ages, stars knights who fight in “clone-like” shells of metal in competitive games and war. Over the centuries, the helmet changes form as craftsman try to use different shapes and materials to protect the warriors’ head. Despite massive changes in ships, weapons, and technology over time across the Star Wars Series, notice the Storm Troopers’ helmet stays the same shape much has been true in the last decades of football with only a change in color for this latest film. In space as on the earth, there is only so much one can do with a helmet but metallic paint does look cool even if it does nothing to protect the brain. 

Episode III: Football invented: Revenge of the Sith

In the third film, the game of football rises from the ashes of the Civil War. While heralded as the “All American Game” with war-like training to make boys into men, a dark side emerged as boys and men are wounded and killed in this new “battle” sport.

Coaches and doctors scramble to find balance between the light and the dark of football while the universe waits for a hero to save the day.

Episode IV: Teddy: A New Hope

President Teddy Roosevelt rises as the “New Hope” of football in the fourth film. Jedi Teddy wins the battle to save football with his new rules making football safer from the Dark Side (thus the Death Star is destroyed) and order is restored to the universe.  

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

However, in the fifth film set in the 1920-30s, the Dark Side is still present as scientists and doctors continued record brain damage in football players’ and boxers’ head injuries using terms like “Punch Drink,” Dementia pugilistica, and even CTE (Yes, the term was used before Omalu was even born). 

Despite the American Association of Pediatrics AAP twice clearly stating in 1957, and 1967, that football should be banned for children 12 and under, football’s popularity grows and this battle game expands to kids so we leave the film having to wait for the sequel.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

In the sixth film in the 1960-80s, the NFL rises to power towering over football seeking to control all aspects of the game. And like the real sixth Star Wars movie, this film is rather incestious as the family ties emerge and it is hard to see who is on which side?

(In the real sixth film, Luke finds out Darth Vader is his dad and Leia is is his sister… The same is true in the football saga. The team doctors on the NFL sidelines have internal conflicts over player health since the doctors are employees of the NFL.

Again, additional NFL rules changes are supposed to destroy the dark side of football (or the latest Death Star) and it seems to be the end of the conflict by the time the credits run. A tidy end to the saga?

Episode VII: Omalu: The Force Awakens

Not to spoil the real movie for you, but like every other action movie, our hero, Jedi Omalu, single-handily battles the re-packaged version of First Order or the new “Safer Football” NFL. But knowing the real history, it is hard to cheer on Omalu’s claims to be the first Jedi to have an epic battle with the Dark Side of Football. Also, missing in Concussion is Chris Nowinski who like Luke is left out of the seventh film.

Yes, Omalu found CTE in Webster’s brain while personally funded his quest, but the film’s lack of placing Omalu on the shoulders of those who came before him, leave one feeling that the film is telling less than the truth. That is unless the six missing movies are filmed…

A final note: It is very convenient for the Dark Side to have this new film which links the “discovery” of brain damage in football to 2002, the year of Omalu rather than an earlier date… say, 1894.

Yes, 1894… Not a typo.

“A 1894 New York Evening Post editorial ripped the incorrigible violence of college football, chiding the hypocrisy—or calculated rhetoric—of organizers and supporters who tried to label boxing the only barbaric pastime.” 

The Post opined:

“There is one characteristic of the new football which all those who promise us its reform seem to overlook, and that is that it is the only athletic sport which brings the whole bodies of the players into violent collision.

In short, is not the distinction between the ring and college football as played Saturday a distinction without a difference? Is not the attempt to make a [perceived] difference a bit of sophistry of which the champions of the game ought to be ashamed? It is true [the boxer] plays a game which consists in wasting his adversary’s strength so that he can no longer resist.

But how does this differ from college football? Is not the slugging of the enemy’s best men so as to close their eyes, strain their hips, break their noses, and concuss their brains, and thus compel them to withdraw from the field, exactly the pugilist’s policy?”

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