Sports

Doctor Whose Story Was Made Into a Movie Testifies in Trial

Testified for young man with ALS, who played college football and is suing the NCAA.


The Washington County (PA) Courthouse has now twice been ground zero in the drama and debate over trauma from sports-related concussions.

In 2014, scenes from the movie "Concussion," starring actor Will Smith were filmed there.

This week, the real-life doctor Smith portrayed testified there in a real-life case.

Will Smith portrayed a character based on Omalu in the movie Concussion.

The Washington Observer-Reporter newspaper reports Dr. Bennet Omalu took the stand Wednesday as a witness in the case of former California University of Pennsylvania linebacker Matthew Onyshko, who is suing the NCAA, claiming they didn't warn him of the risks of playing college football.

At only 38, Onyshko, a former Pittsburgh firefighter, suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He has been watching the proceedings from a wheelchair, and speaks with an eye-controlled communication device.

Matt Onyshko is married with 2 children.

Omalu gets credit for first connecting the trauma of playing professional football with neurodegenerative disease. Since then, he has testified in hundreds of civil cases.

Omalu testifed in this case that ALS is among the diseases that can be triggered by concussion-related brain trauma. He told the jury that most high school football players experience 520 hits to the head per season, but in college that rises to 1,354. Even one hit, he explained, can be damaging, because the brain is especially susceptible to injury and it doesn't repair itself.

The Observer Reporter says Omalu, who is a motivational speaker in addition to his work as an expert and medical doctor, at one point turned to the jury and stated something we all can learn from:

"The most powerful equity you have in your life is time, if you manage it well."

Testimony continues in the trial, which began May 1.

The Onyshko family has a GoFundMe page. Click here if you'd like to help them.

(Images: Biography.com , YouTube , GoFundMe page)

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