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Nigerian Doctor who Discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) awarded with American Medical Association’s Highest Honour | WATCH



Dr. Bennet Omalu

Dr. Bennet Omalu

The American Medical Association (AMA) on Saturday honored Nigerian forensic neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu with its Distinguished Service Award during the opening session of the 2016 AMA Interim Meeting, in Orlando, Florida.

Omalu was honoured for discovering what is known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which was first diagnosed in an NFL player in 2002.

The condition has since been confirmed by postmortem examination in dozens of American athletes and today CTE is widely recognized as a health risk in millions of patients with histories of repetitive brain trauma, including military veterans.

According to the AMA:

Dr. Omalu was working as a forensic neuropathologist in Pittsburgh when he conducted postmortem examinations of former NFL offensive lineman Mike Webster’s brain and spotted what would become the hallmarks of CTE.

“When I looked at his brain and he had diffuse amyloid plaques everywhere and there were no neuritic plaques … I took the slides home with me,” Dr. Omalu said in a 2015 interview. “I spent six months with those slides. I saw tau randomly situated, and not reminiscent of any other dementia that I knew. My first reaction, when I went to the literature, was that I expected to find previous reports like this, but I didn’t find even one.”

He had the case published in 2005 and went on to identify CTE in postmortem examinations of numerous other former NFL players.

Dr. Omalu initially thought the league would be pleased to learn of his findings, but when they were presented at an NFL meeting on concussions in 2007, they were dismissed, and the league—through lawyers, physicians and other experts—went on to mount a coordinated effort to discredit Dr. Omalu and his research.

At the time, the Nigerian-born Dr. Omalu was not a U.S. citizen, and his immigration status was dependent on his continued employment. He stuck to his findings in the face of intense pressure, and in 2009—seven years after his discovery—the NFL relented and publicly acknowledged the link between concussions sustained in football and CTE.

“Because of the service Dr. Omalu has rendered to every player and every family member in the football and other sporting communities, I am delighted to present him, on behalf of the AMA, with the Distinguished Service Award—our highest honor,” AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, MD, said in a statement. “His meritorious service is all the more remarkable given that Dr. Omalu was relatively junior at the time of his discovery, having only completed his pathology residency a few years prior to describing CTE.”

Dr. Gurman said he strongly believes “that Dr. Omalu—by his work, determination and dedication—strongly exemplifies the best of American medicine.”

Nominated by the AMA Board of Trustees and endorsed by the House of Delegates, the Distinguished Service Award recognizes a member of the AMA for meritorious service in the science and art of medicine.

A 20-year member of the AMA, Dr. Omalu attended medical school at the University of Nigeria at 16. He became a U.S. citizen in 2015 and now serves as chief medical examiner for the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office in California and is a clinical associate professor in the University of California, Davis, Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.



  1. Engoz

    November 17, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    That was a powerful speech from Dr. Omalu. It’s been a long time I’ve heard something this powerful, motivating and challenging.

    “Science and faith seek the truth….Do not conform to the intelligence of the many, to the customs, traditions of society. Seek the TRUTH! Conformational intelligence denies us from who we are, denies us from the common humanity we share. The fact that other people are doing something does not mean you join them. You must be true to yourself!”

    Thank you so much Dr. Omalu for reiterating what I believe in.

    Proverbs 25:2
    It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

    Dr. Omalu, you are a king!

    • Tracy

      November 17, 2016 at 11:17 pm

      @Engoz I swear you always write things before I write them.Stop it!!! I felt goose bumps listening to him. Thank God people like Doc still stay true to themselves. Some of us and I mean myself might forget once in a while. Thank you sir!

    • Eegor

      November 18, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Never allow yourself to be conformed by the status quo. nobody should feel restricted by societal norms break boundaries, keep the faith and the truth side by side they will keep you sane throughout your journey .I must be great in this life oo choi??


    November 17, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Nice… BN u forgot to mention the movie concoction which was also done in his honour to shed more light on the condition. Congratulations sir.

    • A Real Nigerian

      November 17, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      And it was a sh*t movie with shtty acting.

    • ATL's finest

      November 18, 2016 at 6:28 am

      @ Real Nigerian. Too many negative Havocs around U & it’s such a shame that U couldn’t pick out one good thing U learned from tbr speech. Oh never mind cuz U probably didn’t listen to him talk anyways.

  3. white

    November 17, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    if it was in Nigeria, they would have killed this doctors dream. Congrats

  4. Marlvina

    November 17, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    And Trump said Africans are useless. Beyt this is a true African man receiving such a distinguished service award right there in your face. ?

    • A Real Nigerian

      November 17, 2016 at 11:37 pm

      Trump never said anything like that.

    • Marlvina

      November 18, 2016 at 5:36 am

      Yes Trump did. He mentioned Africans as bunch of useless people during one of his campaigns. I heard that clearly. You obviously didn’t.

    • ATL's finest

      November 18, 2016 at 6:33 am

      Ode!!!! He said more than that. As a matter of fact, it annoys me a lot cuz foreigners hard earn $$$ is what keeps this Country going. ( Our taxes) unlike that Oloshi that’s trying to make his son inlaw a member of his cabinet this early. Oh well apparently, nobody wanna be on his cabinet after making too many enemies while campaigning ?????. Too bad the white house isn’t family affair & not even Ben Carson want to be on his Cabinet. So @ Real ‘ foolish’ Nigerian, Trumo said worse FYI & pay ATTN next time while u are at it too.

    • nene+

      November 18, 2016 at 10:47 am

      @ Real UFO
      Now tell us what Trump said about us? .

    • Anon

      November 18, 2016 at 12:51 am

      Marlvina Please for the sake of the unbelievable comments you’re fond of dropping as facts, read something other than BN. And no, SDK blog and instablog9ja don’t count. BN is great, but if you want to keep adding to politics, social commentary, even marriage, read more.

    • A Real Nigerian

      November 18, 2016 at 12:59 am

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha a a a ROTFL !!!

    • Marlvina

      November 18, 2016 at 5:42 am

      I walk over you. Focus on your sorry self and improve. Keep your stinky opinion to yourself. It’s not welcomed.

      P.S You’re wrong! (In Trump’s voice)

    • ATL's finest

      November 18, 2016 at 6:36 am

      @ Anon hun, let’s give it to Marlvina cuz trump said worse. As a matter of fact, I remember an article sent to me & U will weep if u read it ( all the hot gas) coming from his mouth. Beside, that’s nothing compared to more awful things he have said. I can’t trust me as far as I can throw him.

    • Anon

      November 18, 2016 at 6:49 am

      They’re showing how videos of trump are edited to make it seem as though he makes racist comments. Trump is a racist and o voted Hilary,but the fact is that he didn’t say that (at least not on camera, so far)

  5. nnenne

    November 17, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    Igbo Kwenu!,
    Kwezuo nu!!!
    Yes, let’s praise the Igboman when he does good too, if we must call them out in the midst of evil

    Congratulations Dr. Omalu!

  6. Josephine

    November 18, 2016 at 6:08 am

    A great example of Nigerian excellence!

  7. Jo

    November 18, 2016 at 7:15 am

    That speech was moving.

  8. concerned9a

    November 18, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Great speech by a truly blessed man..break all chains..our faith is not negotiable

  9. Omoté

    November 18, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    He went to medical school in Nigeria….how many more like this are we going to lose???

    • Idomagirl

      November 19, 2016 at 10:16 am

      My dear we’ve lost so many.
      The number of doctors that have left our shores…
      I don’t blame bit.

  10. Ides of March

    November 18, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Standing ovation Dr. Omalu!!! The awesomeness that is us!!!
    “Just because we’re magic, does not mean we’re not real” – Jesse Williams

  11. ogeAdiro

    November 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I didn’t understand the whole science and faith going together. Doesn’t faith already know the truth? When in doubt, just open the holy book.

  12. Tosin

    November 18, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I feel those who opposed this work just for short-term gain should be punished.
    We need to reinforce the idea that TRUTH MATTERS and furthermore The Common Good matters. Capitalism or not these are basic and sacred concepts.

    • Sherlie Holmes

      November 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      They are already being punished…the Lord has already prepared a table before him IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS ENEMIES!

      This just brings me such joy. This man’s gift has surely made room for him and placed him before kings! The Lord has caused his enemies to be at peace with him. Dr. Omalu – I celebrate you and the God in you o!

  13. Idomagirl

    November 19, 2016 at 10:14 am

    This made me tear up ❤
    Bless you Dr Omalu.

  14. Ebere

    November 19, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    The “TRUTH and SCIENCE”. My senior colleague, much respect……..

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