Dr Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist/neuropathologist, discovered a brain disease, brought on by concussions and blows to the head from high-impact sports, named chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Dr Omalu discovered CTE when he performed autopsies and examined the brains of American football players and World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers. His work resulted in the understanding of traumatic brain injury and how repetitive and innocuous impacts to the head can result in permanent brain damage and dementia.
In his MyHealth Lecture, Dr Omalu speaks about his life and research, which inspired the book and film Concussion, in which he was played by Will Smith.
Following his lecture, Dr Omalu was joined for a panel discussion by Prof. John O’Byrne, orthopaedic surgeon and FAI Team Surgeon; Dr Rod McLoughlin, IRFU Head of Medical Services; Dr Pat O'Neill, Medical Consultant in Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine; Aisling Daly, retired professional mixed martial artist and founder of Safe MMA Ireland; and Bernard Jackman, former Irish international rugby player. The debate was facilitated by RTÉ presenter, Des Cahill.