Power slappers “might die” from sports that “cause brain damage,” says expert, played by Will Smith in Concussion

A TOP expert on brain injuries in sports, played by Will Smith in the Hollywood film Concussion, has called for the controversial slap fight to be banned.

Pioneering brain injury specialist Dr. Bennet Omalu told The US Sun that the “stupid and unsafe” martial art could potentially be fatal or lead to catastrophic brain damage.

dr Bennet Omalu appears on Good Morning America in December 2015

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dr Bennet Omalu appears on Good Morning America in December 2015Photo credit: Disney General Entertainment Con
TBS's Power Slap drew criticism from fans after the show dropped a teaser.

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TBS’s Power Slap drew criticism from fans after the show dropped a teaser.Photo credit: TBS

In slap fighting, two competitors stand in front of each other and take turns to land open-palm punches on their rival’s face.

Sorin Comsa was left with a brutally disfigured face after his slap fight as part of the RXF Slap Fighting Tournament.

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Sorin Comsa was left with a brutally disfigured face after his slap fight as part of the RXF Slap Fighting Tournament.Photo credit: RFX-TV

It sparked heated debate during the launch of the new power slap league last month.

The competition, led by UFC chief Dana White, is licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and will be televised by television network TBS.

Several worrying videos of slap-fighting competitors showing potential signs of serious brain injury and horribly swollen faces have recently gone viral online.

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Images of slap fighter Sorin Comsa’s grotesquely disfigured face in a separate Power Slap League competition in Romania caused concern around the world when they surfaced last month.

Forensic neuropathologist Dr. Omalu previously fought the National Football League for years over his research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which affects players’ brain degeneration.

His campaign for more protections is considered a key factor in the NFL’s decision to introduce concussion protocols for players with head injuries.

dr Omalu’s work gained worldwide recognition when Will Smith was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in the 2015 film Concussion.

A commenter on TBS's power slap promotion said: "Nobody wants to see that."

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A commenter on TBS’s power slap ad said, “Nobody wants to see that.”

“Ursport”

Now the Nigerian-born expert is urging authorities to step in and ban slapping before it’s too late.

He said: “It’s a very stupid sport, very stupid and unsafe. It’s primitive.

“For me, such a sport is not compatible with the intelligence of people.

“It is possible that a participant could die from it. Someone could die or suffer catastrophic brain damage and become a vegetable.”

The power slap premiere was postponed last month after footage surfaced of UFC supremo White, 53, slapping his wife Anne at a New Year’s Eve party.

White later apologized for the slap, but spoke out separately in defense of the competition: “If you don’t fucking like it, don’t watch it! Nobody is asking you to watch this. Oh, you’re disgusted with that? Watch the voice.”

He has also highlighted the safety measures put in place for the sport and the fact that it is regulated by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

dr Omalu said in response, “How can he make that statement? It’s like saying you’re going to make a loaded gun safe.

“I don’t blame the organizers that much, everyone wants to make money or easy money.

“But I have the feeling that the competitors are so stupid. It’s silly given what we know about concussions and blunt trauma to the head.

“Why does TBS show such a primitive sport? It shouldn’t be on TV.

“It’s a cultural virus and companies should not encourage global behaviors that will have a very negative impact on global society.

“To be honest the government should step in and block it as soon as possible before it becomes mainstream.”

Another commenter wrote on the Power Slap teaser video: "No sport, stop it."

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Another commenter wrote on the Power Slap teaser video: “No sport, stop it.”

“SILLY AND DUMMY”

dr Explaining the effects of open-palm punches on the brain, Omalu said it causes “angular acceleration and deceleration of the brain.”

He explained: “There’s no question about it.

“If you hit someone sideways in the face, their head will spin around their neck. The blow to the head is dangerous.

“It’s a very bad way of accelerating. It’s more dangerous to be hit when your head is spinning than when someone hits you head-on.

“The brain goes back and forth, spinning around the midline. This will damage your brain cells.

“There is no question that this will lead to repeated brain damage, brain trauma.

“It has an inherent potential to cause permanent brain damage.

“Anyone who denies that is stupid and dumb.”

Another person responded to the teaser video: "Please stop. Nobody wants to see that."

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Another person responded to the teaser video: “Please stop. Nobody wants to see that.”Photo credit: TBS

‘CREATE PEOPLE’

White defended the sport, saying that competitors take only “three to five slaps per match,” while boxers take 300 to 400 punches per bout.

But dr Omalu – who is currently president and medical director of Bennet Omalu Pathology – says he believes the risk of brain injury is greater in punching than in boxing.

He said: “In boxing you move and dance around and sometimes defend yourself.

“Angular acceleration is more dangerous than linear acceleration.”

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The show’s producers previously stated in response to the criticism: “We are spending the money to ensure we have two healthy people there, proper medical care during and after the fight.

“Those are the things that we need to educate people about, just like we need to educate people about mixed martial arts.”

dr Bennet Omalu and Will Smith attend an event in Palm Springs, California in January 2016

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dr Bennet Omalu and Will Smith attend an event in Palm Springs, California in January 2016Photo credit: Getty
One commenter wrote in response to the power slap teaser: "Bro stop it oh my god"

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One commenter wrote in response to the power slap teaser, “Bro stop it oh my god.”Photo credit: TBS
Another viewer of the ad wrote: "That's so stupid."

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Another viewer of the ad wrote, “This is so stupid.”Photo credit: TBS

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7325155/power-slappers-could-die-from-sport-bennet-omalu/ Power slappers “might die” from sports that “cause brain damage,” says expert, played by Will Smith in Concussion

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