Doctor who discovered CTE to visit Fort Wayne

Dr. Bennet Omalu
Omalu will speak on April 4, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Fort Wayne, Ind.  (WANE) – The fourth and final speaker for the 2016-2017 IPFW Omnibus Lecture Series will be Nigerian born Dr. Bennet Omalu.  It will be held on Tuesday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the IPFW Rhinehart Music Center.

Omalu is a neuropathologist, a doctor who specializes in examining tissue at microscopic levels to diagnose diseases of the brain and nervous system.  In 2002 Omalu discovered changes in the brain that he identified as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) during the course of an autopsy he performed on 50 year old Mike Webster, one of the best centers in NFL history.  CTE is the result of injury to the brain and typically exhibits in depression, memory loss and sometimes dementia.  It was not typically associated with anyone so young. Webster’s cause of death was a heart attack, but it followed what many observed as unexplained difficulty with life after football including a failed marriage and financial losses.

Omalu published his discovery and it was lauded by many in the distinguished medical research community as the autopsy that changed football.  However, it was disputed vigilantly by the NFL.  When another NFL player, offensive lineman Terry Long died by suicide, Omalu found similar results in his brain, and the findings could not be quieted.

Omalu is credited with identifying CTE in eight more deceased NFL players, military veterans with PTSD and professional wrestlers. Neuroscience, sports medicine and safety, the study of brain trauma, and the entire sports industry is changed based on the findings.

PBS’s Frontline produced a film called League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis in 2013. In 2015, Omalu’s story was featured in a book and a film, both titled Concussion. His character was played by Will Smith in the film version.

The lecture is open to the public but tickets are required. Free tickets will be available starting on March 20.  Tickets may be picked up in person at the Gates Athletic Center Box Office on weekdays from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m., or may be reserved online.  Online tickets have a $1 processing fee per ticket.  On the day of the lecture any unclaimed tickets may be obtained one hour prior to the lecture in the Rhinehart Music Center.  Free parking is available in Garage #3 on the IPFW Campus.