The work of Dr. Bennet Omalu was brought to light by the 2016 movie, Concussion, where movie star Will Smith portrayed the life of the doctor as he discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in NFL players. The movie also depicted the relationship between Dr. Bennet Omalu and his wife, Prema Mutiso.
When the movie came out, it received criticism for keeping women on the sidelines of everything. Prema Mutiso, who was played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw was accused of being a flat character who only referenced personal trauma to heighten the drama and progress the film plot.
Still, a lot of people were intrigued by the story of Prema Mutiso. In Concussion, she is shown as a newly minted immigrant who starts off as the roommate of Dr. Bennet Omalu. Their pastor has asked Omalu to help her get on her feet and she becomes a listening ear for him to discuss the revelations that he is having about CTE.
Soon enough, a romantic relationship develops between the both of them that becomes another plot in the movie. As the two get serious with each other, the intimidation from the NFL intensifies and this puts a strain on their relationship. Prema Mutiso suffers a miscarriage at one point after being trailed by an indistinct car.
The task now is to separate the facts from the fiction. Who is the real Prema Mutiso and what can we really tell you about her?
Here are four things you should really know about Prema Mutiso;
Prema Mutiso was a nurse from Nairobi, Kenya who immigrated to the U.S. to advance her studies. As depicted in the film, she went to the same church as Omalu but unlike the film, the two first met at a party and nothing happened for a while after that. Dr. Bennet Omalu had to reintroduce himself to her after church one day and their friendship grew as he began doing favors for her, driving her around and leaving surprises at her door. She did not leave with Omalu immediately like the movie showed although the good doctor did offer at a point to pay her rent.
Her part in Dr. Omalu’s research:
Prema Mutiso was dating Dr. Omalu when he made his initial discoveries into CTE and according to the Jeanne Marie Laskas GQ article on which the film is based, she helped Dr. Omalu with his research.
She was said to have documented his work as he began examining the brain samples of former NFL players that were sent to him by their loved ones. She apparently took photos as he worked and Laskas noted on her website that; “Bennet believes that taking these pictures like Prema did on many occasions was very valuable strategic thinking on Prema’s part,”
Marriage and Family:
As pointed out earlier, Prema Mutiso and Bennet Omalu were merely dating when he made his initial discoveries and the two were soon married even as he continued his research. The two are still married and have since moved to Califonia where they are raising their two young children, daughter Ashly and son Mark.
The beautiful family is a common feature on Omalu’s Facebook page and they stepped out together for some red carpet events when the movie was premiering and making its Hollywood rounds.
Was there ever a miscarriage:
The miscarriage in Concussion led to some questions about whether Prema had suffered a miscarriage in real life. In the GQ article on which the movie is based, there is no mention of any such happening. The miscarriage also does not show up in the Concussion book that expands upon the article. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that it probably never happened but was just used as a tool in the movie to further spell out the drama.
Dr, Bennet Omalu is currently the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California and is a professor in the UC Davis Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine but not much is known about what Prema Mutiso does now. She has been described severally as a private person but her efforts in supporting her husband will always be remembered.