Dr Bennet Omalu, the inspiration behind Will Smith’s ‘Concussion,’ has been awarded the highest medical award in the United States.
Omalu was the first person in the world to identify, describe and name Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have had severe or repeated blows to the head.
He made the discovery when conducting an autopsy on a famous athlete who died, at a fairly young age, of heart attack.
After discovering CTE, he presented a paper on his findings, which was widely dismissed most especially by the National Football League.
The NFL called his work a failure, describing it as completely wrong while dismissing Omalu’s previous education in Nigeria.
The 48-year-old undeterred Nigerian doctor fought back and was later justified of his work which has changed the face of American football.
Andrew Gurman, the president of the American Medical Association (AMA) presented the award to Dr Omalu, saying he was without question, a deserved recipient of the distinguished service award.
”Only two awards are mentioned in the AMA by-laws; one is the distinguished service award, which is presented to a member of the association for meritorious service in the art and science of medicine; it is our highest award.”
Gurman went on to describe Dr Omalu’s struggle to prove CTE was a problem to be acknowledged before calling him up to receive his award.
Dr Bennet Omalu, in his acceptance speech, said what he found out with CTE was that science and faith actually go together.
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”I discovered that science and faith actually go together, because, science and faith seek the truth, and there can only be one truth. Truth is truth; truth doesn’t have a perspective or a side.”
”Faith seeks the common truth that science seeks, so faith and science synergise with each other. That is why I am standing before you today.”