“Need is not weak. Need is need… You have to be the best version of yourself. If you don’t know what that is you pick something and fake it” -Dr. Bennet Omalu

Lauren Schafer, Staff Writer

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I am one of those kids who was raised on Friday night football games and holiday family football games. I listened to sports on the radio in the car and grew up in a town where football was literally the best thing in the world. That changed when I suffered a concussion on October 1, 2017.

My whole perspective changed. So I went from playing tackle football with my cousins to being scared of getting another head injury I wouldn’t even ride a four wheeler or go sledding. I realized that kids and parents don’t understand the danger they put themselves in or their kids in when they play sports, and not just football either. I got my concussion from being bucked off a horse. That is why I look up to Dr. Bennet Omalu.

Dr. Omalu is a Nigerian-American physician, forensic pathologist, and neuropathologist. He discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease found in those who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. With the help of Julian E, Bailes, M.D and Robert P. Fitzsimmons, these three men founded BIRI, Brain Injury Research Institute. BIRI’s purpose is to study the long-term and short-term impacts of brain injuries, specifically concussions. They focus their attention of the development of CTE and the physiological effects of this condition. Their goal is to educate medical participants, public policy experts and the public about the consequences and dangers of concussions. BIRI hopes to establish protocols for the treatment of concussions and develop interventions that can inhibit the progression of CTE. Their long-term goal is to find a cure for CTE.

I learned about Dr. Omalu after watching the movie Concussion. I was having a hard time getting back into the swing of things after my concussion. My mom went to talk to the school nurses and they said to watch the movie Concussion. I learned so much about head injuries just by watching that movie. A concussion doesn’t heal within several days. It’s been eight months after my concussion and I am still dealing with symptoms from my accident. Nobody really understands what happens when you get hit in the head. Dr. Omalu showed us by placing a ball in a jar filled part of the way with water. When you hit your head, your brain shakes in you head. I am serious. I couldn’t believe it. Without the proper treatment, concussions can lead to other issues such as CTE. Everyone just thinks that head injuries will just go away. They don’t and that’s why Dr. Omalu should be the person we all listen to about head injuries.

I look up to Dr. Omalu because he has done everything he can to tell people about the dangers of concussions, even when people don’t listen. He standsup for what he believes in. He knows that mulitple hits to the head can lead to CTE. Dr. Omalu is not afraid to voice his opinion and that’s why I like him. So many people have a hard time standing up for what is right because they know that there will be hate. Dr. Omalu has gone up against NFL players and supervisors, the news, and government officials to tell them the dangers of concussions and repetitive head hits. He has received hate messages, threats, rumors, and so much more but Dr. Omalu knows that without telling people about concussions and CTE, there would be more deaths

If you have had a concussion or know someone who has, research Dr. Omalu. You will see all the dedication Dr. Omalu has put into his research about CTE. It is unbelievable. He has made his life’s mission to help those with CTE and to educate people about the dangers of concussions.