Archive for July 3rd, 2010

Ricky Steamboat Thoughts (Part 2, Chris Benoit’s Father Comments)

I solicited the following comment from Mike Benoit:

I sincerely hope Rick Steamboat gets better.

If we could only go back and test all the wrestlers that have passed in the last 20 years for Chronic Tramautic Encephelopathy. I believe it would explain a lot of addictions and behaviors. Unfortunately there will be a lot more to test in the future. CTE is a disease caused by trauma to the brain. It is impossible to know if or when it will manifest itself. I say, look for the behavior, broken relationships and issues with drugs and or alcohol and loss of emotional control. Friends and family are the first ones to see it. They need to be educated to recognize the symptoms to be able to seek help. Last but certainly not least do everything possible to make contact sports safer especially for the children.

Benoit père has been criticized in a lot of quarters, including this one, for talking about head injuries to the exclusion of every other possible factor in the tragedy of his son’s family. But maybe today in particular all of us should just shut up and listen to Mike.

I mean, it is not as though the findings about CTE have gotten anything other than progressively stronger in their implications, as more wrestlers have died, absent Chris’s drama and media frenzy, and as the studies have extended to football players (most recently Chris Henry).

And it is not as though World Wrestling Entertainment medical director Joseph Maroon, who was brought in by the company to be a voice of authority and preventive safety, has credibility at this point. The National Football League, which used Maroon in the Congressional hearings last year as the whistle was getting blown on its own lapses in the field of brain injury, totally overhauled its concussion policy committee and announced a complete break with past doctors and their tainted research.

Maroon – as this blog has shown and no one else has picked up – also let WWE lie to ESPN about his and the company’s access to the  West Virginia Brain Injury Institute’s Benoit study.

And Maroon and one of his cronies at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, WWE cardiologist Bryan Donohue, are mixed up with an unregulated supplement company, yet didn’t find the time in their WWE cardiovascular screening to notice that 400-pound Eddie “Umaga” Fatu – who was fired by WWE in June 2009 and died of a heart attack while he was negotiating to return in December 2009 – had an enlarged heart.

This year WWE banned chair shots to the head – long after having falsely represented to CNN that it had already done so. When people suggested that the choreographic policy change was politically inspired, company shill Jim Ross said naw, they wouldn’t do a thing like that. They just had their performers’ best interests at heart.

This week, before the facts of the Rick Steamboat tour of intensive care were in, good ole boy JR blogged the following: “I seriously doubt that anything wrestling related had any thing to do with Rick’s aneurysm.”

Pathetic. And outrageous.

Irv Muchnick

Ricky Steamboat Thoughts (Part 1, Medical Update)

According to Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer website, Ricky Steamboat’s angiogram has convinced his doctor that the bleeding in his brain was caused by a capillary burst. Meltzer adds, “Capillary bursts most frequently come from blunt force.”

Meltzer says Steamboat is stable and fully responsive in a Tampa hospital, where he is expected to remain another five days: “The brain bleed is considered the serious issue, as capillary bursts usually heal themselves up.”

The original diagnosis of a brain aneurysm is now, at best, ambiguous. The website has the following information:

A brain aneurysm, also called a cerebral or intracranial aneurysm, is an abnormal bulging outward of one of the arteries in the brain….

Brain aneurysms are often discovered when they rupture, causing bleeding into the brain or the space closely surrounding the brain called the subarachnoid space, causing a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Subarachnoid hemorrhage from a ruptured brain aneurysm can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke, brain damage and death.

According to this site, one in 15 people in the U.S. will develop the condition in their lifetimes. For pro wrestlers, the rate is obviously a lot higher. The death appendix of my book Wrestling Babylon lists several examples, and I can think of at least two obscure independent wrestlers in the last year who died suddenly and young from aneurysms.

NEXT: Comments of Mike Benoit, Chris’s father.

Irv Muchnick

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July 2010