From football, to hockey, to horseback riding, sports have taken quite a hit from brain injury advocates this year. Much of that comes from the publicity connected to Will Smith’s movie Concussion, which hit theaters last Christmas and is now available on DVD. Now the CTE brain injury fight has hit the WWE.
The movie featured the work of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who first discovered a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) among professional football players. Dr. Omalu has gone on to identify CTE in a variety of contact sports, including wrestling.
As early as January 2015, two former professional wrestlers, Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton, filed a class action lawsuit against the WWE. The lawsuit said the WWE was ignoring concussions and having performers do dangerous stunts that put them at risk of brain injuries. LoGrasso suffers migraines, memory loss, depression, and deafness because of his injuries. Mercer suffered brain trauma early in his career that has left him disabled.
Lawyers also approached WWE star Chyna and her family. They were not interested in a lawsuit, but they were interested in the science. After Chyna passed away on April 20, 2016, family members agreed to donate her brain to Dr. Omalu so he could test it for CTE. Her manager, Anthony Anzaldo told the New York Daily News:
“When she died, [the lawyers] called me again and asked, ‘Can we have her brain?’ . . . My hope is that we can do it. I’m in the process of getting the permission to speak on behalf of family to tell the coroner it’s okay to release it.”
CTE can only be diagnosed by an autopsy after a person dies. Symptoms can be obvious long before a professional sportsman dies, but whether those symptoms are caused by repeated brain injury or something else can’t be determined while the person is still alive.
Dr. Omalu identified Chyna as a candidate for a CTE autopsy because she had a history of physical injuries, along with a history of emotional issues and domestic violence. These conditions will be explored in an upcoming documentary called “The Reconstruction of Chyna .”
If Dr. Omalu is able to confirm that Chyna suffered CTE, it will help LoGrasso, Singleton, and other professional wrestlers prove that their symptoms were connected to their work for the WWE. Anzaldo said:
“We’re not interested in the lawsuit at all. . . . We’re just looking for (the researchers) to give us everything they can get.”
Any traumatic brain injury can cause major changes in a person’s day-to-day life. CTE is particularly insidious because it is the effect of repeated small, sometimes undetected, brain injures. Whether your injuries are the result of a fall, a car accident, or sports injuries, the key to a full recovery is prompt and thorough medical treatment.
The attorneys at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan can help get your brain injury medical expenses covered. If you have suffered a vehicle-related brain injury, contact Christensen Law today to schedule a free consultation.