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How is Will Smith Helping to Raise Awareness About Concussions?


The subject of concussion is in the news every day in anticipation of the December 25, 2015, release of Sony Pictures movie “Concussion.” The movie stars Will Smith as Bennett Omalu, M.D., the pathologist credited with discovering the link between repeated concussions in professional football and a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Despite this increased attention to concussion, a majority of people in the U.S. do not understand the injury. In a recent Harris poll, 87 percent of Americans surveyed did not know what a concussion is, and 68 percent did not know that a person can sustain a concussion without receiving a blow to the head. Fewer than 50 percent of those polled knew all the signs and symptoms indicating that someone has sustained a concussion.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or by a hit to the body that causes the brain to bounce or twist inside the skull, stretching and damaging brain cells and causing chemical changes in the brain. This movement can result in either a temporary alteration in consciousness (feeling dazed, stunned, or confused) or a loss of consciousness.

Concussions can happen anywhere – home, school, work, playing field – and they can happen to anyone – adults, teens, children, and babies.

More research is needed to understand why some people who sustain concussions recover spontaneously while others – about 15% of those who experience a concussion – require medical treatment, including rehabilitation.

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has authored Brain Injury: Dispelling Myths and Misunderstandings about Concussion. The 16-page brochure discusses signs and symptoms of concussion, when to seek medical attention, how to aid and speed recovery, long-term effects, research, and prevention. BIAA also provides information through its concussion information on the organization’s website at


The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is the country’s oldest and largest nationwide brain injury advocacy organization. Our mission is to advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment, and education, and to improve the quality of life for all individuals impacted by brain injury. Through advocacy, we bring help, hope, and healing to millions of individuals living with brain injury, their families and the professionals who serve them. 

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