A doctor’s profession is considered to be the noblest one, yet it is very rare to find doctors who become cult figures for their contributions to the society. Bennet Omalu was such a doctor, who first discovered and published his finding that playing professional football for several years causes chronic traumatic encephalopathy aka CTE in American football players, similar to what affects the professional boxers.
Bennet Omalu is a Nigerian and now naturalized American physician, who is interested in neuropathology and worked as a forensic pathologist. A book was written, and a film has been made on him.
If you are like those who are interested in the world of medicine and medical discoveries, football and NFL or just interested in knowing the financials of celebrities, you will find more information and the net worth of Bennet Omalu in 2019.
Bennet Omalu was born on September 30, 1968, in Nnokwa, Anambra in Nigeria. When he was born the Nigeria Civil War was ongoing, and his family fled from their native village of Enugu-Ukwu in southeastern Nigeria. His father was a civil mining engineer, and his mother worked as a seamstress. His family returned only when he was two years old. Omalu is the last but the youngest in the family of seven children.
His full name is Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu, and his surname Omalu is short for Onyemalukwube, in Nigerian, and it means that only the knowledgeable should speak.
After his primary education, Omalu studied at the Federal Government College in Enugu; and then at the age of 16, enrolled for a medical college at the University of Nigeria at Nsukka. In 1990, he completed his MBBS degree. After the internship, he did his medical service at Jos in Nigeria for three years.
In 1994 while looking for scholarship opportunities, he arrived in Seattle and got a fellowship in epidemiology at Washington University.
In 1995, he joined Harlem Hospital Center under Columbia University, for a residency course clinical pathology.
Later he underwent training as a forensic pathologist at the Coroner’s Office of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh. There he became interested in neuropathology.
Omalu is a Catholic, by faith. He married Prema Mutiso who hails from Kenya. The couple has two kids, Ashly and Mark. The family lives in Lodi, California. In 2015 Omalu became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
In 2002, Omalu became famous for his contributions to bring awareness on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, abbreviated as CTE. This is a neurologic condition caused due to chronic head trauma. This has earlier been found in boxers and other sportsmen who were subject to impacts on the head.
His findings were based on the autopsy conducted on former footballer Mike Webster, who played for the Steelers of Pittsburgh. On his brain tissue analysis, he found large accumulations of tau protein. It has similar effects like beta-amyloid in Alzheimer’s.
In 2005, he published his findings in the Neurosurgery journal. Omalu wished that CTE in football players should make the National Football League concerned, but the NFL doctors discredited his theory and asked him to withdraw it.
In 2006, Omalu published another paper. This was about former NFL player Terry Long, who was depressed and has killed himself. He also found tau protein in the 45-year-old footballer. This was equivalent to those old people who had Alzheimer’s. He also found CTE in the brains of several retired NFL players who had died.
In 2007, these findings were presented to the NFL but were again dismissed. It was much later in March 2016 that the NFL finally admitted that there was a link between football and CTE.
From 2007 onwards Omalu worked as the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, which is in California. In 2017, he resigned, in protest against the Sheriff who was also the Coroner and wrongly interfered to protect policemen who shot innocents.
Presently Omalu is at the UC Davis Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, as a Professor.
Awards & Achievement
Omalu is considered to be the most eligible prospect for Nobel Prize for Medicine.
Besides having several degrees, certificates, and fellowships in neuropathology, Omalu is also an MBA from Carnegie Mellon.
A book called Concussion has been written on him, which was adapted into a film. Will Smith played his character.
Omalu has also written two books; Truth Doesn’t Have a Side: My Alarming Discovery about the Danger of Contact Sports, in 2017; and Play Hard, Die Young: Football Dementia, Depression, and Death.
Net worth of Bennet Omalu
The annual salary of Bennet Omalu is around $285,000, and his net worth is estimated an unbelievable $750 Million.
Bennet Omalu’s life and career is a shining example of one man’s grit and determination who wanted to be successful in life despite facing adversities and racial discrimination. It also reflects on the greatness of America as a country which accepts expatriates from several countries including Nigeria. The contributions of Doctor Omalu in the field of neuropathology are of great services to the humanity.