A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that comes from a strong hit or shock to the head. In today’s Insight, you’ll hear a lot about concussions. First, CapRadio’s State Government Reporter, Scott Rodd, will tell us about new efforts he’s tracking that are aimed at protecting jockeys from concussions incurred during horse racing.
Then, Dr. Bennet Omalu, the doctor who discovered CTE, or Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease that can be caused by concussion injuries. Omalu was played by the actor Will Smith in the award-winning film "Concussion." We spoke after he had released his memoir "Truth Doesn’t Have A Side." Finally, we’ll hear about the bike accident that left comedian Jack Gallagher with a concussion. He created a one-man show to tell the story. It’s a bit of art imitating life.
Concussion Protocol for Jockeys
Horse racing is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. But unlike other pro sports where concussions are common — like football and basketball — horse racing doesn’t have a standardized concussion protocol to determine when an athlete can return to competition. Concussion management varies from track to track and state to state, meaning jockeys often come back when symptoms are still present. That leaves them susceptible to further head trauma if an accident occurs.
CapRadio’s State Government Reporter Scott Rodd shares his reporting on how California wants to become one of the first states with a concussion protocol. Maryland is the only other state with a system in place. It would require jockeys to complete an annual baseline assessment and get clearance from a certified physician to return after falling from a horse. Jockeys, trainers and horse owners have opposed similar proposals in the past, since it would pull riders off the track. But as the long-term consequences of concussions have become clearer, the protocol has gained support.
Doctor Bennet Omalu, Concussion Doctor
Dr. Bennet Omalu has become known as the concussion doctor. He was played by Will Smith in the 2015 film "Concussion." When Omalu spoke with Insight host Beth Ruyak in October 2017, Omalu was the medical examiner in San Joaquin County and had a new memoir out called, "Truth doesn’t have a side: my alarming discovery about the danger of contact sports." They started their conversation talking about where Americans are in their acceptance of the reality of CTE.
Ruyak wondered what might have happened if Omalu hadn’t been on duty when the late Pittsburgh Steelers’ player, Mike Webster, was brought into the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, where Omalu was working at the time.
Jack Gallagher: Concussion
Shortly after his 61st birthday, Jack Gallagher decided to go for a bike ride. The nationally known comedian and storyteller hopped on his bike and rode through Sacramento. As he approached an intersection, he noticed a car approaching from another direction. They collided and he suffered a concussion. It took four days of bedrest in a dark room before Gallagher could begin his recovery: three weeks before he could drive a car. And, although he did his best to live up to the motto “the show must go on,” it was anything but easy. Gallagher created a one-man show called “Concussed: Four Days in the Dark,” which he performed back in 2017 at the B Street Theater.
Gallagher will be performing at the B Street Theater on Sept. 10.