BOSTON – In the trailer for the movie “Concussion,” the doctor played by Will Smith says he’s found a disease nobody else has ever seen.
It’s a claim the real-life doctor Bennet Omalu has made himself for years. The forensic pathologist has often given a detailed description about how he came to name the disease “chronic traumatic encephalopathy.”
But Omalu neither discovered the disease nor named it, according to medical journals and concussion researchers who were interviewed by the Associated Press.
And though no one doubts that Omalu’s diagnosis of Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster was pivotal in understanding the dangers of football, fellow researchers and ethicists say Omalu goes too far in trumpeting his role.
William Stewart, a neuropathologist at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, says CTE has been around for decades and is not a new term.
Omalu did not immediately respond to an email or telephone message seeking comment.