According to renowned doctor Bennet Omalu, permitting children to play high impact sports including ice hockey, boxing, wrestling and football is child abuse.
He has stated children can’t smoke, drink or skydive because of risks, but society allows them to put on a helmet and be slapped around.
“If that is not child abuse, I don’t know what is,” Omalu said.
Omalu is a forensic pathologist who discovered chronic brain injury in NFL players. He holds eight advanced degrees and board certifications, later
receiving fellowships in pathology and neuropathology through the University of Pittsburgh in 2000 and 2002 respectively, a Master of Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology in 2004 from University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in 2008.[
In the 2015 film “Concussion,” a movie about his life, Omalu was played by actor Will Smith. The movie began in Pittsburgh where Omalu was a forensic pathologist. Omalu’s autopsy of former Pittsburgh Steelers player Mike Webster in 2002 led to Omalu’s discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE in National Football League Players. Webster had died suddenly and unexpectedly, following years of struggling with cognitive and intellectual impairment, destitution, mood disorders, depression, drug abuse, and suicide attempt.
He has examined the brains of other former NFL players and athletes and according to an interview in Time magazine, all were found with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
“In my opinion, taking professional football players as a cohort, I think over 90% of American football players suffer from this disease. Over 90% of players who play to the professional level have some degree of this disease. I have not examined any brain of a retired football player that came back negative.”
His research and findings forced the NFL to address the dangers of head trauma caused, but he said there is no way to make the sport completely without risks.
Omalu said while NFL players are adults and have every right to participate in dangerous activities, allowing anyone under the age of consent (18) to participate is criminal.
“You are exposing that child to the risk of brain damage,” said Omalu. “It is a 100 percent risk exposure.”
He said research shows that even one concussion as a child increases the risk of dropping out of high school and future problems.
Omalu recently made national headlines when he stated former football great O.J. Simpson is likely suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Simpson is serving a 33 year sentence for robbery and kidnapping.
He said he believes many criminals now serving time in prisons have a history of traumatic brain injuries. He also stated he would love to someday examine O. J Simpson’s brain.