Free Movie Night: "Concussion" PG-13

Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 6:30 pm


A free screening of the thought-provoking film “Concussion,” (PG-13) will be held in partnership with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Knox/Licking County on Wednesday, May 24, 6:30 p.m. at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, 201 N. Mulberry Street.


Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings.


One in four people has a mental illness. Misunderstanding and stigma around mental health issues, prevent people from seeking mental health care. About 900,000 people commit suicide every year and mental disorders are the most prominent and treatable causes of suicide.


The movie "Concussion" tells the story of a Pittsburgh pathologist, Dr. Bennett Omalu (Will Smith), the Nigerian-born doctor who first recognized a connection between head impact in sports and long term mental and physical difficulties often ending in suicide among retired athletes. The brain disease originally given the name "punch drunk syndrome," became what is now called “chronic traumatic encephalopathy,” or CTE.


In 2002, Omalu performed an autopsy on Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Webster, who, before his fatal heart attack at age 50 in 2002, had been drifting in and out of lucidity, overwhelmed by dread, depression and paranoia.


Wondering whether some sort brain disease might have caused Webster's mental decline at such an early age, Omalu took a close look at the former player's brain. There, Omalu found clumps of the same abnormal protein that had been seen in the brains of boxers who had developed early dementia.


As years progressed, more ex-football players were found to have mental health issues including rages and suicidal thoughts, and were later found to have CTE during autopsy. The list included Junior Seau, Dave Duerson and Frank Gifford.


Over the years, there would be many more football players found to have CTE during autopsy — the only current way to diagnose the disease. Among them: Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, Frank Gifford. The hope is that early diagnosis might lead to treatments and a way to identify people at a higher risk of developing the disease.


"CTE is a degenerative brain disease that's similar to Alzheimer's disease, but it's a unique disease that is associated with having a history of repetitive hits to the head," said Robert Stern, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and anatomy and neurobiology at the BU School of Medicine and director of the Clinical Core of the Alzheimer's Disease and CTE Center.


"It's a progressive disease that starts earlier in life, somehow related to that exposure to the repetitive hit," Stern said. It "gets worse and worse as one gets older, as the disease spreads through the brain and destroys brain cells."


Stern listed symptoms of CTE:

·        Changes in mood, like depression and apathy.

·        Changes in behavior — such as impulse control problems, rage and aggression.

·        Problems with thinking — memory problems, difficulties with planning and organization.


Eventually, if someone continues with the disease, the cognitive difficulties get bad enough to impact daily life." Stern added.


Staff from NAMI Knox/Licking County will be on hand to answer any questions and will have free informational materials available.


The movie is free and open to all ages. Refreshments will be served. For more information call the main library at 740-392-BOOK (2665), visit or email [email protected].

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