July 28, 2016

Did Blows to the Head Cause Brain Damage in WWE Wrestlers?

Former Wrestlers Sue WWE Over Alleged Brain Injuries

More than 50 former wrestlers sued the WWE recently, alleging that they suffer from a type of degenerative brain injury caused by repeated hits to the head—and said the league failed to provide adequate medical care.

The former wrestlers, who include "Mr. Wonderful" and Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, say they developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy—more commonly known as CTE—from their time wrestling in the WWE.

But what is CTE?

More About CTE

CTE is an Alzheimer's-like progressive degenerative disease that affects people who have suffered repeated blows to the head, concussions, and traumatic head injuries.

The disease is often seen in athletes who participate in contact sports (think boxing and football), and was the subject of a controversial lawsuit against the National Football League that ended in a settlement to players in the amount of $765 million dollars.

But that's not the only high-profile news story related to CTE. Former longtime Seattle Seahawks player Junior Seau's suicide was linked to the degenerative disease, as was former professional wrestler Chris Benoit's.

Benoit committed suicide after killing his wife, Nancy, and their 7-year-old son.

Symptoms of CTE

People who suffer from CTE have debilitating and sometimes even lifelong symptoms. Common symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy include:

  • Impaired judgement
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in mood and behavior (this could be depression or aggression)
  • Dementia

The Difficulty Diagnosing CTE

An organization known as the Brain Injury Research Center was the first to diagnose CTE in a professional football player back in 2002.

At issue is how to diagnose the brain injury. To date, doctors have only been able to diagnose CTE post-mortem, after the brain can be comprehensively examined.

Doctors at the Brain Injury Research Center, though, are hopeful that diagnostic tests and screenings can help prevent the disease.

Brain injuries such as CTE are traumatic for those who suffer from them—as well as their loved ones.

Each year, about 1.7 million people suffer a brain injury. More than 50,000 more die from a brain injury, while 85,000 more suffer from a long-term disability as a result of a brain injury suffered in falls, crashes and sports accidents. But that's not all: More than 5 million Americans are currently living with a disability caused by a traumatic brain injury—and almost half of the people hospitalized for them have a related disability a year later.

Because CTE and so many other traumatic brain injuries are seen in athletes, we wanted to take the opportunity to share a few safety tips:

  • Identify and remove any and all tripping hazards from recreational areas.
  • Never play recreational activities on hard, unyielding surfaces such as concrete.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding bikes, motorcycles, and ATVs, or when roller blading.
  • Wear the appropriate head gear for the sport being played.
  • Be aware of helmet and other safety equipment recalls (and replace helmets that are damaged right away).

We hope you never suffer from a concussion, CTE, or any other type of traumatic brain injury caused by a fall, crash or other type of accident. Unfortunately, injuries can happen even when you take all the proper precautions. If you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, you might have some important questions. If you do, our experienced legal team is here for you 24/7—just contact us for a free case review.


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