Nigerian ‘Expert’ Questioned about his Thesis that Brain Damage in Contact Sports is Widespread

As many of you are looking forward to a favorite social event of the year—the Super Bowl—the Washington Post of all places published a long and detailed investigation into the man, a Nigerian doctor, who claims to be the father of what he describes as a massive medical crisis—CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).

Reader Cristina sent this story because she knows of ‘Frauds and Crooks’ interest in Nigerian fraudsters and criminals.  I’m not saying his work is completely baseless, but it is interesting to see that the Washington Post is dancing around that theme.

Anyone raising kids involved in sports these days is thinking about this subject, so read it all.  I’ve only snipped the opening paragraphs:

From scientist
to salesman

How Bennet Omalu, doctor of ‘Concussion’
fame, built a career on distorted science

In 2017, Bennet Omalu traveled the globe to accept a series of honors and promote his autobiography, “Truth Doesn’t Have A Side.”

In 2016, Dr. Omalu hypothesized that Hillary had been poisoned and that is what caused her to stumble as she left the World Trade Center site. https://slate.com/technology/2016/09/dr-bennet-omalu-suspects-hillary-clinton-was-poisoned-why.html

In a visit to an Irish medical school, he told students he was a “nobody” who “discovered a disease in America’s most popular sport.”

In an appearance on a religious cable TV show, he said he named the disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, because “it sounded intellectually sophisticated, with a very good acronym.”

And since his discovery, Omalu told Sports Illustrated, researchers have uncovered evidence that shows adolescents who participate in football, hockey, wrestling and mixed martial arts are more likely to drop out of school, become addicted to drugs, struggle with mental illness, commit violent crimes and kill themselves.

A Nigerian American pathologist portrayed by Will Smith in the 2015 film, “Concussion,” Omalu is partly responsible for the most important sports story of the 21st century. Since 2005, when Omalu first reported finding widespread brain damage in a former NFL player, concerns about CTE have inspired a global revolution in concussion safety and fueled an ongoing existential crisis for America’s most popular sport. Omalu’s discovery — initially ignored and then attacked by NFL-allied doctors — inspired an avalanche of scientific research that forced the league to acknowledge a link between football and brain disease.

Nearly 15 years later, Omalu has withdrawn from the CTE research community and remade himself as an evangelist, traveling the world selling his frightening version of what scientists know about CTE and contact sports. In paid speaking engagements, expert witness testimony and in several books he has authored, Omalu portrays CTE as an epidemic and himself as a crusader, fighting against not just the NFL but also the medical science community, which he claims is too corrupted to acknowledge clear-cut evidence that contact sports destroy lives.

After more than a decade of intensive research by scientists from around the globe, the state of scientific knowledge of CTE remains one of uncertainty. Among CTE experts, many important aspects of the disease — from what symptoms it causes, to how prevalent or rare it is — remain the subject of research and debate.

But across the brain science community, there is wide consensus on one thing: Omalu, the man considered by many the public face of CTE research, routinely exaggerates his accomplishments and dramatically overstates the known risks of CTE and contact sports, fueling misconceptions about the disease, according to interviews with more than 50 experts in neurodegenerative disease and brain injuries, and a review of more than 100 papers from peer-reviewed medical journals.

Omalu did not discover CTE, nor did he name the disease.The alarming statistics he recites about contact sports are distorted, according to the author of the studies that produced those figures. And while Omalu cultivates a reputation as the global authority on CTE, it’s unclear whether he is diagnosing it correctly, according to several experts on the disease.

Read more here, apparently the jury is out, but if you have young athletes at home, definitely read it all.

See today at RRW that the President has added Nigeria to the list of countries facing travel restrictions to the US.

 

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