A pioneering CTE study published January 18, 2018 demonstrates that CTE is caused by repeated hits to the head not simply concussions. The lead doctor of the Boston University team that conducted the study described the paper as “the best evidence to date … that CTE is caused not just by concussions, but rather by any blow to the head, including mild impacts.”
As such the argument strongly supports a central claim made in the pending concussion lawsuits against the WWE. According to the wrestlers lawsuit: “The wrestling moves that involve the occupational head trauma that causes CTE and associated diseases from the accumulated effects of TBIs are the result of wrestling moves… that were performed “correctly” by the Plaintiffs. In other words, the head trauma that has resulted in injury is the accumulated effect of many impacts to the plaintiffs’ heads that occurred on a regular, routine basis during their WWE career.” The WWE has strenuously denied this claim.
Incredibly, the WWE actually helped fund this very study in 2018 that supports the injured wrestlers claims, and yet maintains in Court documents and media statements it is ignorant of any risk of CTE among professional wrestlers and openly derides the claims of the wrestlers, five of whom have died and been diagnosed with CTE including well-known wrestlers Jimmy Snuka and Mr. Fuji.
The WWE maintains in the Singleton/LoGrasso case: Quote: “The State of CTE Science is Not a Known Fact,” and WWE Doctors claim in court papers WWE is ignorant of CTE.
The WWE Lead Lawyer explained to the worldwide media: ”Before this guy [Konstantine Kyros] started trolling around looking for people to sue, we didn’t have one person, none, claiming they had any kind of traumatic brain injuries, or dementia or ALS or any of the kind of stuff you seek associated with the NFL.”
Since then the lawsuit has been amended (November 2017), there are five wrestlers diagnosed with CTE in the case itself (and two others Chris Benoit and Andrew “Test” Martin diagnosed by Dr Omalu) as well plaintiffs (including Paul Orndorff) with diseases including dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
The conflict between these positions is even more striking because the BU affiliated Concussion Legacy Foundation gave a seat to one of the “CTE in wrestling deniers”: wrestler Paul Levesque AKA Triple H, an executive VP at WWE (husband of Stephanie McMahon). Mr. Levesque has publicly donwplayed the risks in WWE wrestling, telling USA today :” pro wrestling is fundamentally different from football when it comes to hard impacts… If you’re in the NFL, your goal is to try to hit the other guy as hard as possible. … The goal in what we do is the exact opposite,” said Levesque.
This is a real-time repeat of the NFL League of Denial story. However the striking contrast is that the WWE has seemingly bought the silence of Mr. Nowinski who heads the Concussion Legacy Foundation (see the unbelievable Boston Globe expose of his role), and BU researchers through its large cash donations and Triple H’s board seat on the CLF. The WWE appears to maintain its denial of CTE science in order to avoid paying money to help its injured wrestlers.
The scientific article published in a medical journal called “Brain” received heavy media coverage. The worldwide headlines announced:
CNN: “It’s not concussions that cause CTE. It’s repeated hits, a study finds”
Los Angles Times: “Forget concussions. The real risk of CTE comes from repeated hits to the head, study shows.”
CBS Sports: “Study: CTE caused by repeated hits to head, even those that don’t cause concussions.”
Daily Mail UK:
‘Concussion is a red herring’ for CTE: Major study shows repeated hits (even mild ones) are the REAL problem
• Boston University has found the biggest problem for CTE is the way the head is hit, not the concussion
• Concussion is to CTE what a cough is to lung cancer: it does not predict it and treating it does not prevent it
• The paper is the clearest evidence to date of a causal link between football tackles and CTE – and suggests there is no way to prevent it
These headlines should also point out that the WWE, unlike the NFL is continuing to deny the science and continues to deny any help, money or research to address the CTE health crisis it is directly responsible for among professional wrestlers. The WWE evades these duties despite funding the study that proves its athletes are in health crisis and there can be no doubt of WWE’s actual knowledge of nature of CTE. The WWE’s legal and moral position in the face of evidence it now has at its disposal puts the organization into its own category of corporate misconduct.