The Boston University School of Public Health has rescinded its plans to award Dr. Bennet Omalu, a trailblazer in concussion research, with the university's esteemed Beyond Health Award.
Omalu's life and research were chronicled in last winter's movie Concussion as he was played by actor Will Smith.
Last weekend, Omalu was quoted in a Boston Globe story about a potential conflict of interest involving the WWE and the BU-affiliated Concussion Legacy Foundation. Omalu has agreed to examine the brains of three professional wrestlers who have died in 2016, all under the age of 50. He had a fallout with Chris Nowinski, who chairs the Concussion Legacy Foundation, after they formed the Sports Legacy Institute together.
“What I find very surprising is the timing of this, right after the article,” Omalu said. “It feels like a vendetta against me.”
In the story, several professional wrestlers called out Nowinski for not aggressively looking into the brains of deceased wrestlers to document CTE.
The university's dean informed Omalu in April that it was a “great pleasure to honor you with the Beyond Health Award in recognition of your research, discovery, and activism on chronic traumatic encephalopathy.” This week, Omalu was told that plans changed to “highlighting people with closer connections to our School of Public Health as we mark our 40th anniversary.”