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Is letting kids play football child abuse? ‘Concussion’ movie doctor thinks so

Dr. Bennet Omalu, left, and actor Will Smith pose together at the cast photo call for the film "Concussion" at The Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in New York.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, left, and actor Will Smith pose together at the cast photo call for the film "Concussion" at The Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/ Invision/ AP) Evan Agostini Evan Agostini/ Invision/ AP

The doctor who was portrayed by Will Smith in the 2015 movie “Concussion” said he believes parents who allow kids to play impact sports are basically abusing their children.

Dr. Bennet Omalu was in Reno, Nevada, this week to speak at a local university and told the Reno Gazette Journal that allowing kids to play impact sports like football, ice hockey and wrestling is very dangerous.

He said allowing anyone under the age of 18 to participate is potential critically harmful, and that even one childhood concussion can lead to educational and emotional issues, including dropping out of school.

“If that is not child abuse,” he told the Gazette Journal, “I don’t know what is....You are exposing that child to the risk of brain damage. It is a 100 percent risk exposure.”

Smith portrayed Omalu in “Concussion” a movie about Omalu’s life. Observer movie critic Lawrence Toppman described the film this way: "Concussion" tracks the efforts of Nigerian-born doctor Bennet Omalu to convince the league its policies lead to irreversible brain trauma, which is causing retired players to fall apart psychologically.

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