Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis
This powerful documentary tackles the hot-button issue of the devastating effects of head injuries in sports. With the lens focused on hockey, women’s soccer and, most disturbingly, teenage football leagues, “Head Games” makes the powerful argument that repeated blows to the head, once considered something to simply shrug off, can have fateful, long-term consequences. Academy Award-nominated director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) delivers compelling evidence in interviews with numerous scientists and doctors as well as athletes.
“Part of the romance of sports lies in the thrill of controlled, heroic brutality. Modern athletes are often likened to warriors: they sacrifice, put their bodies on the line and take punishment in pursuit of a noble cause. The rest of us — couch potatoes, season-ticket holders, parents on the sidelines — cheer for the toughest players and the hardest hits. Steve James’s troubling new documentary, Head Games, reckons some of the terrible costs of modern American sports culture.…Head Games is alternately sobering and terrifying. It is painful to watch a grown man struggle to recite the months of the year, and to hear about the shockingly high number of suicides among N.F.L. veterans with C.T.E. It is also chilling to watch youngsters heading out onto the field or the ice accompanied by the usual exhortations from parents and coaches to play hard.
Mr. James, whose Hoop Dreams may be the best sports documentary ever made, is motivated by a fan’s devotion as well as a journalist’s skepticism. Head Games gains credibility and power from compassion for athletes and respect for their accomplishments. But it also tries to open the eyes of sports lovers to dangers that have too often been minimized and too seldom fully understood.” – A.O. Scott, The NEW YORK TIMES (9/12)