Meet the Nigerian Doctor, Dr. Bennet Omalu, Who Transformed American Football

The Nigerian-born forensic neurologist is Dr. Bennet Omalu.


Dr. Omalu who hails from Anambra state obtained his medical degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1991, Masters in Public Health, MPH, degree in Epidemiology from University of Pittsburgh in 2004, and Masters in Business Administration, MBA, from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. He also holds four board certifications in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Forensic Pathology and Neuropathology.

He has testified before the United States Congress and has provided hundreds of testimonies as an expert witness in federal courts and state courts across the United States. A member of many professional organizations, including but not limited to the College of American Pathologists, American Society of Clinical Pathology, American College of Physician Executives, American College of Epidemiologists, American Association of Neuropathologists, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, National Association of Medical Examiners, International Academy of Pathology and American Medical Association. 

He discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in 2002, after performing an autopsy on Pro Football Hall of Famer, Mike Webster.


Webster died of a heart attack at the age of 50, after years of depression and dementia.

From examining Webster and other football players, Omalu determined that repeated head trauma caused brain damage that resulted in the death of some NFL players.

Doctors already attributed this issue to the sport of boxing, but Omalu was the first to associate it with football players.

They insinuated I was not practicing medicine; I was practicing voodoo.

He said in his 2013 interview with Frontline.

In the same interview, he said he was asked:

How dare you, a foreigner like you from Nigeria? What is Nigeria known for, the eighth most corrupt country in the world? Who are you? Who do you think you are to come to tell us how to live our lives?

In 2009, the NFL eventually made changes after Omalu’s newly-discovered disease gained more attention.

They instituted guidelines, to ensure neuropsychological testing was done on any NFL player that sustained a head injury.

He is currently the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California, and a Professor in the UC Davis Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Source: Z!koko

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