Head Games

Nothing is random. And it is not random that the very week my book It’s All in Your Head: Everyone’s Guide to Managing Concussions comes out is the same week that the film Head Games appears in commercial movie theaters. This film features many of the writers, advocates, athletes and physicians that I discuss and quote in my book.  We are all on the same page even if my page is electronic and theirs is visual.

“Inspired by events from the book ‘Head Games‘ written by former Ivy League Football Player and WWE Wrestler Christopher Nowinski, the film contrasts eye-opening evidence and cutting-edge science on head trauma from the nation’s leading medical experts with first-hand accounts from the athletes, coaches, and parents who must tread the difficult balance between sports excellence and basic self-preservation.” (www.movieweb.com)

This film explores the hard questions in a compelling and graphic way:

  • What does the pickled brain of a dead NFL player look like after he has suffered from dementia and killed himself?
  • What can we learn from the experience of professional football which is now taking the lead to recognize the long term risk of the sport?
  • What do we do about our young children and this sport?

The film features Dr. Robert Cantu who passionately believes that we are putting young brains, minds and futures at risk in the way that we currently allow young bobble-headed children to play football.

For me one of the most realistic sequences is that of a pediatrician who is shown struggling with the question of whether to allow her son to play the sport he loves (ice hockey) even knowing that they must accept the risk of severe head injury.

The film is compelling and moving and extremely well done. I was riveted until the end. Its goal is not to help anyone who already has a concussion but to raise thorny questions about our culture, our values and our essential ignorance about this extremely important and now popular topic. It will give pause to anyone who engages in high risk sport or has a loved one who does.