Head Games a Potent Study of Sports-Related Concussions
September 20, 2012Los Angeles Times
"Head Games" isn't fooling around. It's a complex, determined look at one of the most pernicious problems facing organized sports on all levels, but because its director is Steve James, this is more than your standard problem documentary.
James is not only the director of "Hoop Dreams," the consensus pick as the best sports doc ever made, he is also, as last year's "The Interrupters" demonstrated, a filmmaker with an unusually deft touch. There's more nuance in "Head Games," more space for a wider perspective, than we usually see in films that tell us in no uncertain terms that the sky is falling.
This particular piece of sky is the pervasiveness of concussions in sports and what that potentially means for the athletes who get them. For many years, the just-do-it culture of sport meant that everyone involved — fans, coaches, management, even the players themselves — either ignored or minimized the dangers in that quite prevalent kind of head injury.
"Head Games" initial task is to show us how that consensus began to change, initially through the efforts of Christopher Nowinski, who parlayed being an All-Ivy defensive tackle from Harvard into a career as a despised villain in professional wrestling's "Monday Night Raw."
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