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Then Omalu shows up at work and finds the feds going through the files of his boss and mentor, the forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht. The movie tells us that the feds were in cahoots with sportocrats, as if then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue called in favors from the President to make Omalu go away. Here are the boring real-world facts: The FBI did raid Wecht’s office, but that happened three months before Omalu published any of his research on brain injuries in football.The charges against Wecht sound trumped up—84 counts of corruption, most for ticky-tack transgressions like sending private faxes from the office—but Omalu knows what’s really going on. , Omalu’s work on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, posed such a danger to established interests that it produced a cover-up of historic proportions—one that reached not just the boardrooms of the NFL but all the way into the U. The government did indict Omalu’s boss, but for reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with the NFL or CTE, nor with the Nigerian-born pathologist whom Wecht had taken under his wing.But still this study gave the lie to a fundamental intuition about football and one that’s touted almost everywhere. This is the best study that we have on NFL players and mortality, yet its findings never seem to enter public consciousness.
Or one might conclude the opposite—that these men would have been just fine if CTE hadn’t pushed them to these depths; one might speculate that the marital problems and drug addictions and other personal tragedies were a function of phosphorylated tau proteins in their brains.
According to the story of , and the one promoted by Omalu and his peers, that’s exactly what occurred.
If CTE doesn’t lead to suicide directly, then it causes lots of things that themselves can lead to suicide: drug abuse and gambling; violent mood swings and depression; dementia and psychosis.
Webster was depressed, divorced, a former steroid user, hooked on painkillers and Ritalin.
And according to , the best and most complete account of football’s concussion crisis, Webster’s risk factors for collapse were legion. All four of his siblings were bipolar; one attempted suicide several times; another ended up in prison.