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Concussion Paperback – November 24, 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Advance praise for Concussion
 
“A gripping medical mystery and a dazzling portrait of the young scientist no one wanted to listen to . . . a fabulous, essential read.”—Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“The story of Dr. Bennet Omalu’s battle against the NFL is classic David and Goliath stuff, and Jeanne Marie Laskas—one of my favorite writers on earth—makes it as exciting as any great courtroom or gridiron drama. A riveting, powerful human tale—and a master class on how to tell a story.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
 
“Bennet Omalu forced football to reckon with head trauma. The NFL doesn’t want you to hear his story, but Jeanne Marie Laskas makes it unforgettable. This book is gripping, eye-opening, and full of heart.”—Emily Bazelon, author of Sticks and Stones

About the Author

Jeanne Marie Laskas is the author of seven books, including Concussion, Hidden America, and The Exact Same Moon. Her writing has appeared in GQ, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, and many other publications. Laskas serves as director of The Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches creative writing, and she lives on a horse farm in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; 1 edition (November 24, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812987578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812987577
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
You don’t have to enjoy football to appreciate Concussion, the riveting new biography of Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian neurological pathologist that discovered CTE, a type of permanent brain damage caused by repetitive concussions, such as that experienced by football players. Not only the content, but the engaging voice with which it is told, make it worth everyone’s while. I was fortunate enough to read it free, courtesy of Net Galley and Random House, but when it comes out Tuesday, November 24, I recommend you get a copy for yourself. It’s information everyone really ought to have, especially those that play American football, or have family members that do.

As for me, several years ago the middle school where I taught was rocked by the news that a young man we had taught had been killed on the football field while playing for the high school next door to us. DeShawn had died in a way the Seattle Times assured its readers was unheard of, a terrible tragedy with little explanation other than that of the coroner, who said he died of a traumatic brain injury. Our in-house football coach, whose frustrated students were stuck playing the “dumb”, safe version known as flag football, opined that maybe DeShawn hadn’t burped his helmet. One of DeShawn’s team members, a friend of my son’s and a frequent guest at our home, considered that DeShawn hadn’t “kept his head down like Coach said”. But the fact is, he was gone, and he wasn’t coming back. Dead at 16.

So I was interested indeed to read about the discovery made by Omalu, the pathologist that by coincidence was in charge of the autopsy of Iron Mike Webster, who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But I was equally interested in Omalu’s own story, a man of great enthusiasm and character, a faithful Catholic who used “Gee!” and “Gosh!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Although Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) may not be a household term, most of us are familiar with the now very stringent, NFL regulations regarding the treatment of players thought to have experienced head injuries during play. Bennet Omalu is also not well known, although he is the pathologist who discovered CTE and took the NFL to task for ignoring the devastating effects of CTE on their players.

Concussion, by Jeanne Marie Laskas, is the fascinating story of Bennet Omalu and his struggle to get the NFL own up to the existence of CTE, compensate players with the disease, and--finally--change the rules of football to reduce the chances for head injuries. Although this is definitely a book about Omalu's discovery of CTE and his fight to get the NFL to address this disease, it is mostly a biography Omalu. If you are more interested in the story of science vs. the NFL, you may wish to look elsewhere.

The book is an expansion of Laskas' article, Game Brain, that she wrote for GQ in 2009. The book is engaging from start to finish, a David and Goliath story about a humble man from a small village in Africa who not only became a brilliant pathologist but also had the gumption to go one-on-one with the NFL and won. This is clearly the stuff that movies are made of, and it is no surprise that the movie based on this book, starring Will Smith as Omalu, is scheduled for release on December 25th, 2015.

The fact is Omalu did start from very simple beginnings. His father was a prominent engineer and later became Oba, or chief of the Igbo village of Enugwu-Ukwu in southeastern Nigeria. Omalu's father was determined that his children would reach great heights, that they would expand well beyond a small African village.
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Format: Paperback
I went on a business trip this week and accidentally left my Kindle at home. I am so glad I did because I bought Jeanne’s book at the airport and read it straight though.

Wow. What a powerful story.

She writes with a colorful mastery of language. It reads like a novel. She presents complex medical science in an easy to understand manner. And most importantly, she presents the courage of one man to stand firmly for the truth and proudly represent his family name, Omalu, which translates to “if you know, come forth and speak”.

Dr. Bennet Omalu certainly did come forth and speak.

As a player for 10 years (high school, college, and three professional tryouts over two years time), this book frightens me. It was my dream to play for the NFL. I dedicated most of my youth to that single goal. Now I count my blessings that I came up short.

As an admirer of the NFL for most of my life, this story shames me. It’s disgraceful that an institution that grew rich and powerful on the backs of its athletes has gone to such lengths so dishonor them. To walk away from them after they have been ravaged by the game.

As a man who truly loved playing the game of football, I now worry that its days are numbered.

Professor Laskas and Dr. Omalu, thank you for your important book!

Matt Gersper
Founder, Happy Living
[...]
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A superb account of how Bennet Omalu discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and what the NFL did to suppress his work and discredit him. It is clear the author spent years getting the story together and striving for accuracy. This is a book every football fan, every parent of a potential football player, and all active young players should read. It is unlikely that Sony Pictures, bowing to the NFL, will be telling the same story http://nyti.ms/1KpMX4V in the upcoming movie, making this book even more important.
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