One important function of the pending legal claims against the WWE is to prove that CTE exists in WWE wrestlers in order to get them medical care. An important element of the claims is that former wrestlers may be at risk for CTE. The lawsuits are asking in part, for the WWE to acknowledge this science. The WWE has so far tried to avoid admitting that wrestlers may be at risk for CTE and the pending lawsuits have in a sense forced the WWE to take a position on the science behind CTE. The fullest statement on the WWE stance on CTE can be gleaned by looking at the papers that their lawyers have filed in the lawsuits.
In seeking to dismiss the claims made by Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton (their cases were filed before the 60 wrestlers in the Laurinaitis case), the WWE was forced to make its views known.
The fullest WWE position on CTE can be read here: “The State of CTE Science is Not a Known Fact”
In this filing with the Court the WWE quotes (underlines and bolds the text) from a controversial 24th International Conference on Concussion in Sport in Zurich in 2012 which stated among other things that:
“It was… agreed that a cause and effect relationship has not been demonstrated between CTE and Concussions or exposure to contact sports.”
“It was further agreed that CTE was not related to concussions alone or simply exposure to contact sports.”
“As such the speculation that repeated concussion or subconcussive impacts cause CTE remains unproven.”
So in order for the WWE to defend the claims made by the wrestlers it relies on studies that the majority of the medical community rejects.
The plaintiffs experts and lawyers themselves do not even have to make this argument. The argument has been made for them by the WWE financed doctors: Ann McKee and Robert Cantu at Boston University!
Dr. Ann McKee wrote on March 17 2013 about this very article cited by the WWE in the lawsuits “This is a time that calls for immediate action to reduce the amount of head trauma experienced by athletes in all sports to prevent CTE,” McKee said via email. “And it is now irresponsible to justify inaction by requesting a level of scientific proof that will take decades to acquire.”
Dr. Robert Cantu had a similar reaction to the WWE cited statements telling the press: “When I saw in the consensus statement that we need more data in terms of CTE, I wrote to the other authors, in essence, ‘What the hell do you mean that we need more data?'” Dr. Robert Cantu said in a phone conversation Thursday. “…Frankly, it stunned me.”
Additionally the CTE studies financed in part by the WWE by the BU researchers reach the exact opposite conclusions of this Zurich Conference. Including a recent WWE-funded study that was said to be “the best evidence to date … that CTE is caused not just by concussions, but rather by any blow to the head, including mild impacts.”See earlier posts.
The WWE position on CTE science in the lawsuits is not only out-of-date and incoherent, the WWE position also directly contradicts the very studies and experts it funds at Boston University. The WWE’s tragic hypocrisy means that former WWE wrestlers will continue to suffer from CTE without any help or treatment until the Court forces them to act.