Ahead of its Christmas Day release, hundreds of NFL players have already screened “Concussion,” a drama starring Will Smith that chronicles the true story of forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu’s battle to expose critical brain injuries linked to pro football players as the NFL–powerful and with vast resources–attempted to impede his efforts.
Of course, there is no audience more important than the players themselves who are at risk of health woes after years of traumatic injury as a result of the game, NFL Players Association executive George Atallah tells The Hollywood Reporter.
“We’ve been telling the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu for the past five or six years as an organization,” he says. “This was something our union was definitely going to recommend.”
The group, which represents NFL players, has screened the film in Atlanta and Houston, with plans for more showings. Atallah says the reaction from players has been “varied.”
“A number of players believe that the film might attack football itself,” he explains. “Then there are players on the other side of the spectrum who understand that this is a story that they have not only lived through but is necessary to tell if we want to actually make the game safer in the future. But everybody I’ve spoken to who has seen it says it’s absolutely worth seeing.”
Continuing, “But look, if I’m being honest, there are some active players who say they don’t want to see the film because it hits too close to home. But most of the active players I’ve talked to absolutely want to see this film.”
“Concussion” opens Christmas Day. Watch the trailer below.