concussion

Ridley Scott had one of his greatest successes with a film about ancient gladiatorial combat, and now he wants to make a movie about one modern version of the combative tradition. Scott is looking for a writer to tackle a drama about football players, and specifically the effects that concussions have on players, and how that all works with the team and league execs who reap the biggest benefits from successful players.

Deadline reports that Scott wants to set up “a morality tale on that issue, much the way that Michael Mann’s The Insider took on the tobacco industry’s complicity in covering up the addictive and cancer-causing effects of cigarette smoking.” So this is not going to be a big flashy sports movie — it is more likely to be a grim business expose.

The serious effects of concussions and other head traumas in football and contact sports in general has been increasingly part of conversations about the sport of late, as lawsuits have begun to draw attention to the long-term devastation that can result from repeated head injuries. Young players who suffer severe injuries have found their lives irrevocably changed and even destroyed thanks to conditions that result. Older players, including superstars of years past, have found their lives after football defined by disabilities that are rooted in damage done to their brains while playing the game.

(Football is hardly unique here; Muhammed Ali, for example, developed Parkinson’s Syndrome in the ’80s, thanks in part to head trauma suffered as part of his boxing career.)

There’s no mystery that the upper echelons of the business of football make their living — which can be excessively good — through the actions of the game that acts like a mill grinding up players. Players don’t go into the game unaware of the dangers, of course, but some find that there is a big difference between knowing that certain risks are present, and actually dealing with the aftermath of several concussions. Mention of The Insider suggests that Scott intends to excoriate the figures who profit on the upper end as players and their families are left to deal with chronic memory loss, dementia, and the physical instability of conditions such as Parkinson’s.

 

 

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