AS I SEE IT – Finally Addressing Concussions in Wrestling


AS I SEE IT – Finally Addressing Concussions in Wrestling
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

First, word on a long-overdue but welcome step by WWE to address the issue of concussions in wrestling.

This past week, World Wrestling Entertainment contributed $1.2 million over three years to further research aimed at developing a treatment for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE, which has been seen in athletes and wrestlers suffering repeated concussions, and is linked to depression and dementia. This fact and the liability for it has notably challenged by the class action lawsuit by 4,000 former NFL players against the league. CTE has been linked to depression and dementia.

The gift is being made to the Sports Legacy Institute, a Boston non-profit addressing the effects of concussions in  .”

The WWE says the gift is a continuation of the Talent Wellness Program it started in 2006, which now includes the same neurological baseline testing used in the NFL and such pro wrestling-specific mandates as a ban against bashing an opponent over the head with a metal chair.

Notable in the changes in addressing concussions in WWE is seen even this past weekend when Dolph Ziggler recently sustained a concussion after getting hit with an errant kick that was supposed to be in the chest and instead got hit on the chin. He was pulled from last night’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view.

WWE’s donationt will be used by researchers at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy in a new investigation aimed at studying the effectiveness of potential treatments for CTE.

Nowinski suffered a concussion while wrestling and in the attitude of the time, kept right on going.  Nowinski said of his situation in USA Today: “…I lied about my symptoms for five weeks and kept going. … I had a headache and was nauseous every time I got my heart rate up, but I fought through it as best I could.”

In the same USA Today interview, Paul “HHH” Levesque stated pretty openly about the goal of pro wrestling: “The goal in what we do is first and foremost … protect your opponent. Without him you have nothing. … Our whole goal is to make something look as devastating as possible and as impactful as possible with as little impact as possible. It’s really the art of what we do. We really work on that with talent. If John Cena and I are in a story line together and I hit John Cena hard and he gets injured, and he’s out, it hurts me as much as it hurts him. He’s out; now my opponent that I’m in a story line with is gone and my storyline just ended.”

The research figures to benefit other sports, but Levesque noted that WWE often gets its wrestlers from other sports: “We recruit a lot of our talent from other contact sports, NFL, NHL, rugby and the Olympics. … It’s important for us as to where they’re coming from and what has happened to them prior to them getting to us because it’s … in essence what we’re getting as a talent.”

Now, in contrast, here is news on a fan campaign to help pro wrestler Michael Paris (aka TNA’s Zema Ion) with his medical expenses.

Paris was recently rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with appendicitis, after suffering from severa abdominal pains. It may well have been the most fortunate attack of appendicitis ever, as while examining his condition through CAT scans, doctors discovered a five centimeter tumor located on his colon.

As of this writing, it is unknown whether the tumor is cancerous, Paris will soon have to undergo another surgery to remove it. In the meantime, fans are trying to help pay his growing medical expenses. He does not have health insurance, so the costs for these surgeries and hospital will be expensive. Please help us to afford this effort and pitch in any way possible,

It’s notable that there’s been no word whatever from TNA on assisting Paris with his expenses.

Paris began as Shiima Xion with Pittsburgh’s International Wrestling Cartel, and became a mainstay with the promotion for several years winning the IWC Super Indy IX Tournament in 2010, was twice the IWC Super Indy Champion, twice the co-IWC Tag Team Championship with Jason Gory, and twice the IWC Heavyweight Champion.

Paris also has international experience, with Japan’s Dramatic Dream Team promotion, he won the 2006 Takechi Six Man Tag Scramble Cup with Kudo and Mikam. He’s also worked Mexico  for the Desastre Total Ultraviolento (DTU) promotion in 2009, as well as appearances with AAA in 2009, as well with other Mexican independents through 2012.

He’s also appeared with other US independent promotions, including CZW, Far North Wrestling and New Era Pro Wrestling.

After 9 years, he was signed to a contract with TNA Wrestling in 2011, where he won the X Division championship last year

But now he needs the assistance of wrestling fans.  Fans have organized an effort to assist him on the Give Forward website at

Please help if you can.

— Bob Magee

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