WWE wrestlers are fun to watch, so much so that most people forget it is all scripted. As kids, we used to wonder how wrestling could be so action-packed, and yet the wrestlers themselves could be so resilient just as in the movies.
Despite the high kicks, haymaker punches and taking blows on the head with benches, one seldom sees blood in a wrestling match. The matches may be scripted, the performances practiced, but the accumulated blows take its toll.
Former WWE wrestlers claim they are suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and head injuries they believe to be caused by repeated concussions.
CTE is a progressive degenerative brain disease found among former NFL athletes, discovered by Dr. Bennet Omalu. A case against the NFL caused the organization billions of dollars, and ex-WWE wrestlers filed a similar class-action suit.
It accuses the wrestling organization of knowing the dangers involved in their performances, but it withheld and covered up the risks from them. The lawsuit also states that the WWE improperly h red them as independent contractors, instead of direct employees so it could avoid spending on health benefits and medical protections.
The dozens of plaintiffs, including Jimmy Snuka (Superfly) and Joe Laurinaitis (Road Warrior Animal), are stated in the case to be suffering from brain trauma and neurological injuries.
Common manifestations of the brain injuries are headaches, dizziness and memory loss, but aggravated ones suffer from depression, mood swings and confusion that leads victims to commit suicide.
Dr. Omalu has diagnosed wrestling stars Chris Benoit and Andrew “Test’’ Martin of CTE, however, his foundation was highly criticized after it started receiving donations from the WWE organization.
This has prompted Boston University to revoke its plans to present Dr. Omalu its Beyond Health Award.
The WWE says it already received a similar case against them that has been dismissed by the courts, and says:
“A federal judge has already found that this lawyer made patently false allegations about WWE, and this is more of the same. We’re confident this lawsuit will suffer the same fate as his prior attempts and be dismissed.”
The complaint has been filed in a federal court in New Haven, Connecticut.
Photo courtesy: John O’neill/English Wikipedia