Concussions: It’s Not Just About Football
In news headlines, football and concussions go together like politicians and promises. As they should. There are literally thousands of ex-NFL players filing concussion-related lawsuits against the league. (Even so, more kids still sign up for freshman football than any other sport.)
Head injuries in sports, amateur and professional, are rampant. But for an extreme example -- even when compared to the NFL -- look no further that what has been called the world’s most dangerous sport: professional wrestling.
Last year, professional wrestlers Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton sued World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) over traumatic brain injuries they sustained during their wrestling careers. And this week WWE superstar Daniel Bryan pointed to the many concussions and post-concussion seizures that he had suffered throughout his 16-years of wrestling as his reason to retire.
Medical documents, autopsies, and police records gathered by USA Today revealed that among the 1,000 active wrestlers between 1997 and 2004, at least 65 have already died. And they died young -- notably Randy “Macho Man” Savage, at 58, and James “The Ultimate Warrior” Hellwig, at 54.
Bryan acknowledged the mindset of players in team contact sports. Especially for young players the mantra is to “play on.” Playing through pain, toughing it out, walking it off -- these are all attitudes that are likely to lead to further, more serious injuries. He hopes his story serves to warn the younger generation about looking out for their own safety when it comes to sports injuries.