The riveting, unlikely story of the pathologist who made one of the most significant medical discoveries of the 21st century—a discovery that challenges the existence of America’s favorite sport, and puts him in the crosshairs of its most powerful corporation: the NFL
In September of 2002, Dr. Bennet Omalu performed an autopsy that would change the course of his life. The body on the slab at the coroner’s office in Pittsburgh belonged to a 53 year-old named Mike Webster, who also happened to be a legendary, Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The same Mike Webster who, after retiring, suffered a dizzyingly steep decline in mental health; who was living out of his van; who treated his back pain with a Taser and used Super Glue to fix his rotting teeth. How did this happen? How did a relatively young man like Mike Webster end up like this? Omalu wanted to know. As a young Nigerian man born against the brutal backdrop of the Biafra Civil War, Omalu was all too familiar with death. Working as a forensic pathologist let him act as an advocate for the dead; a deeply religious man, he considered it his calling. What he discovered in Mike Webster’s brain—evidence of a trauma-related disease, similar to Alzheimer’s, that he named CTE—was proof that Webster’s decline was no accident, and he knew that it would kill scores of other athletes unless something was done to address it. Omalu naively believed that the NFL would welcome this discovery. Instead, it tried to destroy him, and discredit his findings.
Taut and gorgeously told, this is the intensely personal story of one man’s fight against a multi-billion dollar colossus determined to crush him. For fans of A Beautiful Mind and The Blind Side, this is a gripping and, ultimately, deeply affirming book.
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