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Description de l’éditeur
This is the story of one man's fight against a multibillion dollar colossus. A man who stood up for what was right, whatever the cost.
The brilliant young forensic pathologist had no idea that the body on the slab in front of him would change his life, and ultimately change the world.
The body belonged to legendary American Footballer Mike Webster, whose mental health had rapidly declined after he had stopped playing - he had ended up Tasering himself to relieve his chronic back pain and fixing his rotting teeth with Superglue.
Dr Bennet Omalu found that the psychosis suffered by "Iron Mike" was no accident. His autopsy unearthed evidence of a trauma-related disease - the direct result of years of blows to the head in games. He knew it would keep killing scores of other sportsmen unless something was done. He believed that the NFL (National Football League), one of the most powerful corporations in America, would welcome the discovery. But it was the one truth they wanted to ignore.
Omalu himself became a target.
'This is classic David and Goliath stuff, and as exciting as a great courtroom drama. A riveting, powerful human tale . . . a masterclass on how to tell a story'
Charles Duhigg, New York Times columnist and bestselling author of The Power of Habit
Part medical whodunit and part biography, this arresting account by Laska (Hidden America) introduces Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who reluctantly unravels a medical threat that challenges the future of the National Football League. In 2002, Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist working for the Allegheny County coroner's office, performs an autopsy on former NFL great Mike Webster, who exhibited bizarre behavior and dementia, and concludes that the cause was chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a debilitating brain disease, caused by concussions sustained during football games. Omalu stirs up a hornet's nest when he testifies about these conclusions in court. At times, Laskas switches the focus to the Nigerian doctor's overly romanticized views of America or his painful battle with depression, but the book mostly covers his detailed legal wrangling with the NFL monopoly over long-term CTE symptoms and acceptable compensation. The deck is stacked again against any football player taking savage hits in the game, even with the protective helmet, according to Omalu: "On the surface is nothing, but you open the skull and the brain is mush." Some NFL officials and gridiron vets think the CTE legal aftermath has weakened football's muscular appeal, but Laskas expertly makes the case for valuing the health of football players over the image of the league, justifying the large cash settlement for damage. This important book is based on a 2009 article Laskas wrote for GQ, as is a forthcoming film.