Archive for March 19th, 2010

How NOT to Get a Gig With WWE’s Crack Medical Team

I haven’t yet told you about World Wrestling Entertainment’s consulting endocrinologist on matters related to “therapeutic use exemptions” (TUE’s) for drug-testing under the company Wellness Policy. He is Dr. Vijay Bahl, yet another distinguished physician from the Shadyside campus of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

This post is mostly about what you shouldn’t do if you want to get hired as a medical consultant for WWE. But one thing that it seems you should do is have a practice out of the Shadyside campus of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. So do Joseph Maroon and Bryan Donohue – respectively, WWE’s medical director and cardiovascular monitoring consultant, in addition to being fellow hucksters for a supplement marketer. (See previous posts today.)

The importance of the TUE consultant became clear after the June 2007 double murder/suicide of Chris Benoit. Initially, WWE said Benoit had passed his drug tests with flying colors. Funny, but his postmortem toxicology study showed that he had a testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio of 59-to-1: off the charts.

Well, it turned out that Benoit hadn’t exactly “passed” his drug tests. It was just that he didn’t have “conclusion-positives” because he had a TUE, a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card. TUE’s were part of a “testosterone replacement program” for wrestlers like Benoit who needed therapeutic doses of testosterone after years or decades of steroid abuse had maimed the ability of their own endocrine systems to produce it in sufficient quantities.

Dr. Tracy Ray, a WWE consultant, was grilled about all this in his September 2007 interview by the staff of Congressman Henry Waxman’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. (See the transcript at http://oversight.house.gov/images/stories/documents/20081231140832.pdf.) Ray agreed that “there was shadiness in almost every case that I’ve reviewed.”

Ray himself is not an endocrinologist, but an associate of Dr. James Andrews’ sports medicine clinic in Alabama. Andrews has performed surgery to repair injuries sustained by many famous athletes and WWE performers. (And many of those injuries – especially things like torn pectorals and triceps – are new to the medical literature and caused by how steroids cause overloaded muscle groups to tax the tendons holding them together.)

WWE sought an endocrinologist. Above all, it needed to make it look as though it was doing something serious about TUE’s. The company reached out to perhaps the leading expert in the field: Dr. Richard Auchus of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Auchus had helped design the TUE protocols for the Olympic movement’s World Anti-Doping Agency.

Auchus wrote a memo proposing a plan for WWE. He wasn’t fooling around. If he were to get involved, Auchus said, the emphasis would have to be on getting the talent off steroids, not enabling the continued abuse of them. He said a testosterone replacement program should be analogous to giving heroin addicts methodone to help wean them off the drug.

In his own interview with the Waxman Committee staff in December 2007, Vince McMahon said a relationship with Auchus was under consideration.

But Auchus never heard back. The next year WWE quietly hired Dr. Bahl.

After all, you can’t go wrong with those Shadyside bloodlines.

Irv Muchnick

NFL Says WWE’s Medical Director Still on Concussion Committee

I called the office of National Football League media relations guy Greg Aiello to find out what I could about the tenure and status of Dr. Joseph Maroon on the NFL policy committee on concussions.

Readers here know that the NFL is shaking up its concussion team after taking a public pasting in Congressional hearings and the media. This is pertinent because Dr. Maroon – a team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the surgeon of former pro wrestling great Bruno Sammartino – has another side job as World Wrestling Entertainment’s medical director. Indeed, Maroon, a man of many hats, also finds time to serve as a huckster for an “energy and longevity” supplement.

Greg Aiello’s assistant asked me for the nature of my business. Then she said she would check “to see if Greg is in.”

After nearly five minutes on hold, the assistant came back on the line.

“Greg says that Dr. Maroon is on the committee and has been for several years,” she said.

I asked for some more specifics, including the composition of the entire committee. Aiello’s assistant took my email address. I’m not holding my breath.

Irv Muchnick

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I II called the office of National Football League media relations guy Greg Aiello to find out what I could about the tenure and status of Dr. Joseph Maroon on the NFL policy committee on concussions.

Readers here know that the NFL is shaking up its concussion team after taking a public pasting in Congressional hearings and the media. This is pertinent because Dr. Maroon – a team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the surgeon of former pro wrestling great Bruno Sammartino – has another side job as World Wrestling Entertainment’s medical director. Indeed, Maroon, a man of many hats, also finds time to serve as a huckster for an “:energy and longevity” supplement.

Greg Aiello’s assistant asked me for the nature of my business. Then she said she would check “to see if Greg is in.”

After nearly five minutes on hold, the assistant came back on the line.

“Greg says that Dr. Maroon is on the committee and has been for several years,” she said.

I asked for some more specifics, including the composition of the entire committee. Aiello’s assistant took my email address. I’m not holding my breath.

Irv Muchnick

NFL Says WWE’s Medical Director Still on Concussion Committee

I called the office of National Football League media relations guy Greg Aiello to find out what I could about the tenure and status of Dr. Joseph Maroon on the NFL policy committee on concussions.

Readers here know that the NFL is shaking up its concussion team after taking a public pasting in Congressional hearings and the media. This is pertinent because Dr. Maroon – a team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the surgeon of former pro wrestling great Bruno Sammartino – has another side job as World Wrestling Entertainment’s medical director. Indeed, Maroon, a man of many hats, also finds time to serve as a huckster for an “:energy and longevity” supplement.

Greg Aiello’s assistant asked me for the nature of my business. Then she said she would check “to see if Greg is in.”

After nearly five minutes on hold, the assistant came back on the line.

“Greg says that Dr. Maroon is on the committee and has been for several years,” she said.

I asked for some more specifics, including the composition of the entire committee. Aiello’s assistant took my email address. I’m not holding my breath.

Irv Muchnick

As I have been reporting for the last 12 hours, the December autopsy report on World Wrestling Entertainment performer Eddie “Umaga” Fatu shows that he had the kind of enlarged heart frequently found among steroid abusers.

This takes scrutiny of WWE’s so-called “Wellness Program” to a new level. It is one thing for Vince and Linda McMahon to talk in circles about a drug-testing regime they dropped in 1996 and picked up ten years later, only after the high-profile death of their star Eddie Guerrero. Fatu, for example, had a previous “strike” and suspension for being exposed on the customer list of Internet drug dealer Signature Pharmacy,. But that doesn’t mean he ever flunked a WWE drug test. Fatu’s cause of death, a toxic cocktail of prescription drugs, were not part of steroid testing. And he probably had legitimate prescriptions for those drugs. Yadda yadda yadda.

Heart monitoring is a whole different kettle of fish. WWE has been claiming it has a specific program for screening the cardiovascular health of its talent. When the program was first instituted, the company even hyped catching and treating one fairly obscure wrestler’s unusual heart condition.

So where was the heart monitoring for Eddie Fatu? And who was in charge of it?

The answer to the second question is Dr. Bryan Donohue of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Indeed, from the “Shadyside” campus” – I love that touch.)

Like Dr. Joseph Maroon, another University of Pittsburgh doc and WWE medical consultant, Donohue is mixed up in some fashion with Vinomis Laboratories, marketer of the “miracle” supplement Vindure: pure resveratrol from natural Japanese Knotweed, mixed with Vinomis Red Wine Grape extract, and all based on “exclusive Harvard Medical School patented science”! (See “Where Does WWE’s ‘Medical Director’ Fit in Shakeup of NFL’s Concussion Committee,” https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/where-does-wwes-medical-director-fit-in-shakeup-of-nfls-concussion-committee/.)

Right after Eddie Fatu died, a Pittsburgh lifestyle magazine called Whirl ran a hype article on this remarkable new homegrown product, and television station KDKA did a gushy interview about it with Dr. Donohue.

See for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8jqCZ4yUrs.

Irv Muchnick

NFL Says WWE’s Medical Director Still on Concussion Committee

I called the office of National Football League media relations guy Greg Aiello to find out what I could about the tenure and status of Dr. Joseph Maroon on the NFL policy committee on concussions.

Readers here know that the NFL is shaking up its concussion team after taking a public pasting in Congressional hearings and the media. This is pertinent because Dr. Maroon – a team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the surgeon of former pro wrestling great Bruno Sammartino – has another side job as World Wrestling Entertainment’s medical director. Indeed, Maroon, a man of many hats, also finds time to serve as a huckster for an “:energy and longevity” supplement.

Greg Aiello’s assistant asked me for the nature of my business. Then she said she would check “to see if Greg is in.”

After nearly five minutes on hold, the assistant came back on the line.

“Greg says that Dr. Maroon is on the committee and has been for several years,” she said.

I asked for some more specifics, including the composition of the entire committee. Aiello’s assistant took my email address. I’m not holding my breath.

Irv Muchnick

As I have been reporting for the last 12 hours, the December autopsy report on World Wrestling Entertainment performer Eddie “Umaga” Fatu shows that he had the kind of enlarged heart frequently found among steroid abusers.

This takes scrutiny of WWE’s so-called “Wellness Program” to a new level. It is one thing for Vince and Linda McMahon to talk in circles about a drug-testing regime they dropped in 1996 and picked up ten years later, only after the high-profile death of their star Eddie Guerrero. Fatu, for example, had a previous “strike” and suspension for being exposed on the customer list of Internet drug dealer Signature Pharmacy,. But that doesn’t mean he ever flunked a WWE drug test. Fatu’s cause of death, a toxic cocktail of prescription drugs, were not part of steroid testing. And he probably had legitimate prescriptions for those drugs. Yadda yadda yadda.

Heart monitoring is a whole different kettle of fish. WWE has been claiming it has a specific program for screening the cardiovascular health of its talent. When the program was first instituted, the company even hyped catching and treating one fairly obscure wrestler’s unusual heart condition.

So where was the heart monitoring for Eddie Fatu? And who was in charge of it?

The answer to the second question is Dr. Bryan Donohue of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Indeed, from the “Shadyside” campus” – I love that touch.)

Like Dr. Joseph Maroon, another University of Pittsburgh doc and WWE medical consultant, Donohue is mixed up in some fashion with Vinomis Laboratories, marketer of the “miracle” supplement Vindure: pure resveratrol from natural Japanese Knotweed, mixed with Vinomis Red Wine Grape extract, and all based on “exclusive Harvard Medical School patented science”! (See “Where Does WWE’s ‘Medical Director’ Fit in Shakeup of NFL’s Concussion Committee,” https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/where-does-wwes-medical-director-fit-in-shakeup-of-nfls-concussion-committee/.)

Right after Eddie Fatu died, a Pittsburgh lifestyle magazine called Whirl ran a hype article on this remarkable new homegrown product, and television station KDKA did a gushy interview about it with Dr. Donohue.

See for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8jqCZ4yUrs.

Irv Muchnick

NFL Says WWE’s Medical Director Still on Concussion Committee

I called the office of National Football League media relations guy Greg Aiello to find out what I could about the tenure and status of Dr. Joseph Maroon on the NFL policy committee on concussions.

Readers here know that the NFL is shaking up its concussion team after taking a public pasting in Congressional hearings and the media. This is pertinent because Dr. Maroon – a team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the surgeon of former pro wrestling great Bruno Sammartino – has another side job as World Wrestling Entertainment’s medical director. Indeed, Maroon, a man of many hats, also finds time to serve as a huckster for an “:energy and longevity” supplement.

Greg Aiello’s assistant asked me for the nature of my business. Then she said she would check “to see if Greg is in.”

After nearly five minutes on hold, the assistant came back on the line.

“Greg says that Dr. Maroon is on the committee and has been for several years,” she said.

I asked for some more specifics, including the composition of the entire committee. Aiello’s assistant took my email address. I’m not holding my breath.

Irv Muchnick

As I have been reporting for the last 12 hours, the December autopsy report on World Wrestling Entertainment performer Eddie “Umaga” Fatu shows that he had the kind of enlarged heart frequently found among steroid abusers.

This takes scrutiny of WWE’s so-called “Wellness Program” to a new level. It is one thing for Vince and Linda McMahon to talk in circles about a drug-testing regime they dropped in 1996 and picked up ten years later, only after the high-profile death of their star Eddie Guerrero. Fatu, for example, had a previous “strike” and suspension for being exposed on the customer list of Internet drug dealer Signature Pharmacy,. But that doesn’t mean he ever flunked a WWE drug test. Fatu’s cause of death, a toxic cocktail of prescription drugs, were not part of steroid testing. And he probably had legitimate prescriptions for those drugs. Yadda yadda yadda.

Heart monitoring is a whole different kettle of fish. WWE has been claiming it has a specific program for screening the cardiovascular health of its talent. When the program was first instituted, the company even hyped catching and treating one fairly obscure wrestler’s unusual heart condition.

So where was the heart monitoring for Eddie Fatu? And who was in charge of it?

The answer to the second question is Dr. Bryan Donohue of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Indeed, from the “Shadyside” campus” – I love that touch.)

Like Dr. Joseph Maroon, another University of Pittsburgh doc and WWE medical consultant, Donohue is mixed up in some fashion with Vinomis Laboratories, marketer of the “miracle” supplement Vindure: pure resveratrol from natural Japanese Knotweed, mixed with Vinomis Red Wine Grape extract, and all based on “exclusive Harvard Medical School patented science”! (See “Where Does WWE’s ‘Medical Director’ Fit in Shakeup of NFL’s Concussion Committee,” https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/where-does-wwes-medical-director-fit-in-shakeup-of-nfls-concussion-committee/.)

Right after Eddie Fatu died, a Pittsburgh lifestyle magazine called Whirl ran a hype article on this remarkable new homegrown product, and television station KDKA did a gushy interview about it with Dr. Donohue.

See for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8jqCZ4yUrs.

Irv Muchnick

Watch the Cardiovascular Health Consultant for Linda McMahon’s WWE Pimp an Unregulated Supplement on YouTube

As I have been reporting for the last 12 hours, the December autopsy report on World Wrestling Entertainment performer Eddie “Umaga” Fatu shows that he had the kind of enlarged heart frequently found among steroid abusers.

This takes scrutiny of WWE’s so-called “Wellness Program” to a new level. It is one thing for Vince and Linda McMahon to talk in circles about a drug-testing regime they dropped in 1996 and picked up ten years later, only after the high-profile death of their star Eddie Guerrero. Fatu, for example, had a previous “strike” and suspension for having been exposed on the customer list of Internet drug dealer Signature Pharmacy. But that doesn’t mean he ever flunked a WWE drug test. Fatu’s cause of death, a toxic cocktail of prescription drugs, was not part of steroid testing. And he probably had legitimate prescriptions for those drugs. Yadda yadda yadda.

Heart monitoring is a whole different kettle of fish. WWE has been claiming it has a specific program for screening the cardiovascular health of its talent. When the program was first instituted, the company even hyped catching and treating one fairly obscure wrestler’s unusual heart condition.

So where was the heart monitoring for Eddie Fatu? And who was in charge of it?

The answer to the second question is Dr. Bryan Donohue of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Indeed, from the “Shadyside” campus – I love that touch.)

Like Dr. Joseph Maroon, another University of Pittsburgh doc and WWE medical consultant, Donohue is mixed up in some fashion with Vinomis Laboratories, marketer of the “miracle” supplement Vindure: pure resveratrol from natural Japanese Knotweed, mixed with Vinomis Red Wine Grape extract, and all based on “exclusive Harvard Medical School patented science”! (See “Where Does WWE’s ‘Medical Director’ Fit in Shakeup of NFL’s Concussion Committee,” https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/where-does-wwes-medical-director-fit-in-shakeup-of-nfls-concussion-committee/.)

Right after Eddie Fatu died, a Pittsburgh lifestyle magazine called Whirl ran a hype article on this remarkable new homegrown product, and television station KDKA did a gushy interview about it with Dr. Donohue.

See for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8jqCZ4yUrs.

Irv Muchnick

Linda McMahon ‘Has Considered’ Having Vince Answer Steroid Questions

Embedded in today’s story on Linda McMahon at CTMirror.org (http://www.ctmirror.org/story/5215/mcmahons-investment-produces-its-first-returns) is this important passage:

In response to a question, she acknowledged that her campaign has considered making a public presentation on steroids, possibly making her husband and other WWE officials and doctors available for questions.

“It’s something we talk about internally,” McMahon said. “Should we have that kind of a presentation or continue referring a lot of these kinds of questions to WWE, who are now in a better position to respond to it?”

“A public presentation” would be worthless. Making Vince McMahon and others available for questions is essential.

The questions could start with the autopsy I posted last night of Eddie “Umaga” Fatu, 36, who died of a heart attack in December. We already knew that the coroner had determined the cause of death to be a toxic combination of prescription drugs. What the autopsy showed was that Fatu also had an enlarged heart, a common byproduct of steroid abuse.

So in addition to all the previous questions about Fatu’s drug tests and their application per the World Wrestling Entertainment wellness policy, there are questions about the heart monitoring program the company has claimed credit for instituting.

Irv Muchnick


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