Whenever Nigerians feel the need to debunk the widespread sentiment about them being good for nothing in overseas but to only swindle people out of their money and possessions, they refer to people like Dr. Bennet Omalu to make a point or two about how they are not the scumbags of the earth as often suggested on several quarters.
There is no doubt about this, Omalu is one of the popular Nigerians living in the United States of America and definitely the most famous among those in his chosen profession. If you have watched the 2015 sports drama film (Concussion), starring Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, then you already know that the Nigerian gained attention for his groundbreaking findings on CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in relation to American football which earned him the spite of the National Football League (NFL).
NFL extensively opposed Dr. Omalu’s strong drive to learn more about CTE in American football players and inform the world about it as it was regarded as an unpleasant development capable of destroying the reputation of the sport. As such, Omalu’s findings remained widely inconsequential until Jeanne Marie Laskas, a journalist got the CTE, the Nigerian physician and NFL story published in New York’s monthly men’s magazine, GQ. Laskas would later make a book out of the story; the book titled Concussion was eventually adapted into the aforementioned film.
Dr. Bennet Omalu: Biography
Dr. Omalu, a man from the Igbo ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria was born on the 30th day of September 1968. His place of birth was in Nnokwa located in Idemili South, Anambra State. As the sixth of his parent’s seven children, Omalu’s birth came at a difficult time, Nigeria was having its civil war and fate apportioned him to the most troubled part of the country during the war. His family had to escape from their Enugu-Ukwu home with little Omalu to stay alive.
While we are still striving to learn more about Omalu’s six siblings, we know that his mom earned a living by sewing and that his dad who was popular among his people and a leader, was a mining civil engineer.
To be formally educated, his parents ensured he started school at an early age. Records have it that he was a student of the Federal Government College in Enugu, it was from the secondary school that he moved on to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he obtained his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree. That was in 1990. Omalu initially wanted to take an active part in the medical activities of Nigeria; he even served as a doctor in the northern part of the country. But then, the political instability in the country handed him the motivation to leave the country, he did and settled in Seattle, Washington. That was in 1994.
In the United States, he pursued further knowledge in his chosen profession. This saw him move from Washington to New York and other cities, learning and working with several medical institutions which culminated in him being Dr. Bennet Omalu, the renowned Nigerian-American physician, neuropathologist and forensic pathologist.
His Wife and Family
Omalu has been husband to Prema Mutiso who came to the United States from Kenya. Apart from the fact that she’s the mother of Omalu’s two kids – Ashly and Mark, what else do you know about her? Well, here’s what we know, and it is quite, albeit insignificantly different from what was depicted in the 2015 biographical film.
The two first met at a party and not at church, when the Dr. started seeing her in church, he approached her and their friendship blossomed from there. As a Nurse from Nairobi, Kenya, Mutiso came to the United State to further her studies. Things were quite tough for her and Omalu offered her a helping hand every now and then. She later moved in with the doctor, their friendship became romantic and the rest is history.
Quick Facts About Dr. Bennet Omalu
1. He’s often regarded as a man defined by his name. His surname Omalu is an abridge of Onyemalukwube, which means “he who knows should speak”. This was obvious in his CTE findings, NFL worked hard to shut him up but the man wouldn’t stop striving to warn the world about the health dangers of playing American football.
2. In 2017, he resigned from his position as the chief medical examiner of California’s San Joaquin County. According to the doctor, the county’s Sheriff wouldn’t stop interfering with death investigations. Omalu said the Sheriff is always striving to protect cops who killed people.
3. Dr. Bennet Omalu is one of the professors serving at the Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of California, Davis.
4. He’s an author, his books include Play Hard Die Young: Football dementia, depression and death which he published in 2008 and Truth Doesn’t Have a Side: My Alarming Discovery about the Danger of Contact Sports published in 2017.
5. Sometime in 2016, Omalu triggered a controversy when he asked Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign team to conduct a toxicologic analysis of Hillary’s blood, suggesting that she may have been poisoned.
6. The man became a citizen of the United States of America sometime in February 2015.