We’ve heard a lot about concussions from the NFL - but now Daniel Bryan from the WWE is speaking out about his own traumatic brain injuries.
WWE Star Retires Because of Concussions
After years of receiving multiple concussions, WWE star Daniel Bryan, is retiring from wrestling. As he and he wife, fellow WWE star Brie Bella explained, Bryan has now started to suffer seizures as a result of the concussions he has sustained in the ring.
Bryan, 34, first tried to keep the seizures a secret - even from his wife - out of fear that he would have to quit wrestling. Eventually, he could no longer keep them hidden.
“I was with him with one of his seizures after a concussion” Bella said during a recent interview. “It scared me so bad. I lost it.”
Even after his wife knew about the seizures he was having as the result of the concussions, he asked his wife to keep it a secret.
“I just implored her, ‘Please don’t say anything to anybody,’” he said.
Bryan’s Wrestling Career
Bryan has been a pro wrestler for 16 years. He announced his retirement earlier this month, making a ring-side statement in which he said: “I have loved this in a way that I have never loved anything else.”
He also let fans in on the reason behind his retirement at the age of 34.
“Within the first five months of my wrestling career, I already had three concussions,” he said. “It gets to the point that when you’ve been wrestling for 16 years, that adds up to a lot of concussions.”
Though he is retiring now, he has been out of the ring since last year following a surgery on his neck.
Not Blaming WWE
Despite the fact that Byran sustained his injuries in the wrestling ring, he is not blaming the WWE for his injuries and his resulting early retirement. He noted during his retirement announcement that the WWE even stopped him from wrestling following his last concussion, despite multiple doctors saying he could compete.
Paul Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative, is a professional wrestler and the current WWE Heavyweight Champion. He weighed in on how athletes will often push themselves to the limit.
“Athletes are like thoroughbreds. Someone has to pull the reins,” said Levesque. “They will run themselves into the ground if — if given that opportunity.”
The WWE has also made a recent statement regarding injuries that their athletes sustain: “unlike contact sports like the NFL, boxing or MMA, WWE performers are taught the art of perceived contact, which is cleverly choreographed. However, there are still some unintentional risks associated with in-ring performances, all of which our talent understand.”
Programs to Spread Awareness of Concussions
In 2006, the WWE implemented what they call the “Talent Wellness Program” that includes “ImPACT” concussion testing as a way to address the injuries that their athletes sustain.
“WWE has been well ahead of sports organizations in implementing concussion management procedures and policies,” WWE said. “If a performer shows symptoms of a concussion or suffers a concussion, they are immediately removed from the ring. We have the ability to conduct further testing at arenas if a suspected concussion occurs during an event. There is strict prohibition of deliberate and direct shots to the head.”
Bryan is just the latest athlete to speak out about CTE - Chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that is most commonly found in people who have suffered a severe blow to the head. It’s been linked to numerous football players, but can only be diagnosed after death - with a formal autopsy of the brain.
CTE was found in footballers Frank Gifford and Junior Seau following their deaths. Numerous other players are believed to have suffered traumatic brain injuries, and the topic has been a hot button for the last few years.
As Bryan explains, “The more concussions you have, the more susceptible you are to them.”
Lawsuits Against WWE
While Bryan is not faulting the WWE for his injuries, there are two former wrestlers that have brought lawsuits against the wrestling federation for failure to diagnose concussions and sending athletes into the ring while injured.
Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton filed a potential class action lawsuit against the WWE in early 2015.
“Under the guise of providing entertainment, the WWE has, for decades, subjected its wrestlers to extreme physical brutality that it knew, or should have known, caused created latent conditions and long-term irreversible bodily damage, including brain damage,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit alleged that Singleton, who began his career at the age of 19, is now disabled because of the brain trauma he has suffered. LoGrasso, who was with the WWE for a decade, suffers from migraines, memory loss, depression and deafness according to the lawsuit.
The WWE has responded, saying those lawsuits have “no merit and we will vigorously contest it.”
“Our referees are taught to look for signs,” Levesque said. “Our talent themselves are made aware of signs in themselves and in each other.”
Brain Injury Lawsuit
There are many steps to bringing a brain injury lawsuit, and you’ll want to work with an attorney such as the attorneys at Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney if you decide that you would like to pursue a brain injury lawsuit.
Brain injuries can be caused by anything - from being in the WWE ring to car accidents to sports activities. If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury, including a concussion or other form of brain damage or spinal cord injury - you may be entitled to compensation under the law.
Most lawsuits that are brought for brain injuries are based on the legal theory of negligence. When claiming negligence, the person bringing the lawsuit (a plaintiff) must prove that the defendant (person they are suing) is legally responsible for the injury that has been sustained. This means proving that the defendant is “at fault” for the injury.
The following must be proven to win a negligence lawsuit:
- The law required that the defendant be reasonably careful and that the defendant owed the person bringing the lawsuit a “duty of care.”
- The defendant failed to act with reasonable care toward the plaintiff.
- The defendant’s action (or possible inaction) caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- The plaintiff suffered injuries and/or losses that can be measured under the law (financial, physical).
Working with a personal injury attorney is the best way to be able to prove the above and win your negligence case. An experienced attorney will ask you questions about the specifics of your brain injury - how it occurred, what you remember about the accident, what you were doing when it happened, and the type of medical treatment you have received as a result of it.
You’ll want to provide as much information as possible. This includes any witnesses that might have seen the accident, accident reports, and medical documentation.
It’s also important to note that many brain injuries often take time to emerge. While an injured party might not be aware that their brain has been injured in an accident, they often show signs months and years later. These delayed injuries are often seen as changes in concentration, memory, emotion, and behavior.
Because of this, it’s always advised that you work with a lawyer following any serious accident.
Bryan’s Wife Also Retiring This Year
While Bryan might be leaving the WWE “early,” his brain injuries, and the damage he has sustained as a result of them, are most likely irreversible. It’s been a lesson that his wife is learning through him. Bryan’s wife, Brie Bella, has also announced her plans to retire later this year. The couple has plans of starting a family together.
“Feeling and seeing everything he went through with his retirement,” Bella said, “I just feel that it’s time for me to hang up the boots. It’s gonna be hard on me, as well, but that day is definitely very close.”
Working with a Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident
If you or a loved one have been an victim of a personal injury accident, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney that understands the specific laws around these types of accidents. They will be able to perform a full investigation and build your case. It’s crucial that you work with someone that knows the intricacies of the laws surrounding these types of cases as well as your specific state’s laws. The attorneys at Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney have experience handling personal injury cases such as traumatic brain injuries, elevator accidents, automobile accidents, and slip and fall accidents. They will help build a case to ensure you receive everything you need to recover from your specific accident.