This week I’ll be speaking at a national legal webinar for attorneys on helping people with serious brain injuries, so I certainly do not think brain injury is a laughing matter.
But even I had to do a double take when I read what one of the plaintiff’s ring names was in this concussion lawsuit: Skull Von Krush!
That name alone speaks volumes about the total disconnect between how our society has viewed brain injury for decades. And it shows just how far that societal disconnect is from what the current science and medical literature about the risks and consequences of concussion and TBI.
In the lawsuit, two former WWE professional wrestlers have sued and say they have serious brain injuries after suffering repeated concussions in the ring. They have filed a potential class-action lawsuit against the WWE in Pennsylvania federal court, according to a story on Fortune.com by Reuters.
Vito LoGrasso, 50, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and Evan Singleton, 22, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, are accusing the World Wrestling Entertainment of ignoring their concussions.
LoGrasso, whose ring names included Big Vito and Skull Von Krush, states he suffers from “serious neurological damage” and has memory loss, depression and anxiety.
Singleton’s ring name was Adam Mercer, and at the age of 19 was among the youngest wrestlers in WWE history. The lawsuit states he now has “an array of serious symptoms,” including tremors, convulsions, memory loss and issues with reasoning.
This wrestling lawsuit is similar to those filed in several other U.S. sports, including the National Football League, which reached a $765 million settlement between former football players who suffered brain injuries in 2013.
I serve on the Executive Board of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, and every year I attend and speak at many legal and medical seminars across the country on brain injury. So I’m familiar with how TBI can develop and worsen over time, and also how many of its symptoms can be missed by doctors and busy emergency rooms.
I’ve written about the Detroit Lions specifically as part of the NFL concussion settlement, as I practice law primarily in Michigan. Most of the brain injury professionals and lawyers I know have expressed shock and disbelief that the NFL was able to hide its knowledge of what was happening to these players for so long.
I’m glad this awareness is spreading to other contact sports, especially one as intense as wrestling. On a related note, it isn’t just football, wrestling, and hockey that put people at risk for sports concussions. Here’s a blog post I wrote about Dale Earnhardt and his multiple concussions.