Brain Injuries in Linda McMahon’s WWE and the NFL – Where Sports and ‘Sports Entertainment’ Overlap

Drs. Julian Bailes and Bennet Omalu of the Brain Injury Research Institute at West Virginia University are announcing today that their studies of National Football League player Chris Henry – who died last year at age 26 under bizarre circumstances – show he had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. They have said that World Wrestling Entertainment performer Chris Benoit  (among a growing list of other pro wrestlers and football players) suffered from CTE when he committed double murder/suicide in 2007.

The Associated Press preview of the Bailes-Omalu announcement is at http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AnxNSECybgIXseZ9insQJz85nYcB?slug=ap-bengals-henry.

As Linda McMahon runs for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut after amassing a fortune co-founding and operating WWE, remember this: The 2008 hire of WWE medical director Joseph Maroon, prompted by the Benoit tragedy, was based largely on Maroon’s reputation as an NFL neurologist and concussion expert. Now the NFL has overhauled its brain-injury policy team after Congressional hearings and media reports exposed serious lapses in the work there. Yet Maroon remains at WWE.

Moreover, WWE and Maroon have misled the public about their access to the West Virginia doctors’ postmortem studies of Benoit’s damaged brain.

Instead of deconstructing Linda McMahon TV commercials the way Pauline Kael analyzed Francis Ford Coppola, what if political reporters undertook a toothful examination of how the queen of fake-real-fake-real made her centimillions?

Irv Muchnick

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