Bell Rung Hits a Sobering Chord with Audience

October 25, 2012

On the evening of October 18th, hundreds of people filed into Blackman Auditorium at Northeastern University to view – Bell Rungan eye-opening documentary produced by former Green Bay Packers running back Dorsey Levens on the hardships faced by former NFL players and their families at the hands of concussions and years of repetitive head trauma.

Featuring appearances and commentary from 16 former pro players, family members and experts in the medical field, Bell Rung illuminates the issues facing former NFL players as they search for answers and explanations relating to their personal experience with traumatic brain injury.

Moving personal stories told from players like Ellis Hobbs, Takeo Spikes, and Jamal Lewis offers viewers an understanding of the fear and insecurity these former titans of the gridiron live with on a daily basis. In providing these perspectives, Levens’ film exposes the fragile human being that exists beneath the helmet and shoulder pads, not the seemingly indestructible gladiator exalted by fans and media alike every Sunday in the fall, but a living, thinking and feeling person with family and loved ones.

Following the showing, Levens was joined on stage by Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Sport in Society, Dr. Neil McGrath, a well known Boston area neuropsychologist and Sammy Morris, former New England Patriot for a panel discussion moderated by Ron Thomas, sportswriter and Director of Morehouse College Journalism and Sport.

Topics for discussion ranged widely and touched upon such issues as youth sports, masculinity and healthy development, diagnosis procedures, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and current NFL policy and initiatives. After the panelists spent some time discussing the major issues facing stakeholders, Thomas invited members of the audience to ask the panelists questions.

When asked what had inspired him to make the film by an audience member, Levens replied, “It sort of started by accident, I started talking to other players about the issue and getting the same answers, I realized how bad it was and went from there.” Levens also alluded to his desire to attract the attention of the NFL in hopes of sparking greater dialogue for policy changes.

While the panel acknowledged there is still much to be known about concussions and the long term affects of continued exposure to blunt head trauma, they agreed that facilitating discussion and adding to a growing awareness will help create positive and sustained change for those exposed to the dangers of the NFL and what we can do to reduce the risk for youth athletes.

Become a fan of Bell Rung here.

Click here for more information about Morehouse College Journalism and Sport.

Information about concussion treatment and diagnosis can be found here.

Read an interesting article from UT San Diego writer Jill Steeg here. 

Learn more about Ron Thomas here.

Should high school football be banned? Check out this NY Times article by clicking here.