2016 Great Immigrants Recipient

Bennet Omalu
Forensic Pathologist, Discoverer of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
Born in:

“Trust in the great American ingenuity. We can derive more intelligent, more brain-friendly ways we can play football,” forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu told “Time” magazine in 2015. Omalu was the first to identify, describe and name chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a disease entity in football players. His discovery sparked a chain of events that ultimately forced the National Football League (NFL) to settle a class-action lawsuit from retired players and raised unprecedented awareness of the dangers of head trauma in contact sports. His discovery - and the NFL’s reaction to it - is the subject of the 2015 sports film “Concussion,” with actor Will Smith portraying Omalu in the lead role. He received the Distinguished Service Award, the American Medical Association’s highest honor, in 2016. He served as the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California. He currently serves as a clinical professor and associate physician diplomate at the UC, Davis Medical Center, Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Omalu’s memoir “Truth Doesn’t Have a Side” was published in 2017. Updated 2018