Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer on Randy Orton’s Concussion and the Research of Dr. Bennet Omalu

From the June 20 issue of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Reprinted with permission. For subscription information, go to http://www.f4wonline.com/.

Randy Orton suffered a legitimate concussion on the 6/12 show in Madrid, Spain, doing a three-way with Sheamus and Christian. That’s why he couldn’t wrestle on either Raw or Smackdown the next two days. On both shows, they acknowledged the concussion, but they were pushing on both shows that he would be wrestling Christian on the PPV. For the old wrestling business pre-2007, that would be a given, and he’d probably have wrestled on TV as well. But if he got a concussion on 6/12, the idea that he’d be fine to do a match on 6/19 is very questionable. Company policy is that with a legit concussion, you have to pass Dr. Joseph Maroon’s Impact testing to determine whether you are fit to go back out. It’s hard to believe that they would violate their own system and allow Orton to do anything where he’d have to take a bump until he was cleared. But it’s also operating very shady to the public to still be pushing his match for the PPV on Sunday. That in itself is a controversial subject, as the entire concussion diagnosis issue is filled with politics and agendas and contradictory viewpoints. There are a number of leaders in the field who dislike each other and run down the beliefs of the other. But what’s bad here is with a legitimate concussion, how can they possibly know the next day when taping Raw after Orton flew from Madrid directly to New York that Orton would be fine to wrestle six days later? If he passed the testing the day after a concussion, then all a sudden you have to wonder about the testing. If he didn’t, then WWE had no business pushing him wrestling for Sunday past saying he’s questionable and they would update later in the week. And if he can’t, given that Orton vs. Christian on paper is the No. 2 match on the show, but many consider it the No. 1 match on the show, they should at least on Raw and Smackdown push that there is a question regarding if this match can take place. It comes off really shady for a company that has worked hard to cleanse what has been a very negative image, particularly since it has to do with misleading its most loyal 2% of its audience.

In the ever-evolving science of concussion research and understanding, Dr. Bennett Omalu, who is, within the medical world considered the No. 1 authority on concussions, believes that any athlete who suffers a concussion should be kept out of action for 90 days. His reasoning is a concussion often involves head rotation, not limited to a blow to the skull, and that can cause tearing of brain tissue and can take 90 days for brain fluid to return to normal. The NFL and WWE, for instance, use Maroon’s system to determine whether a competitor has recovered enough to return. Among players, there has been talk that taking Ritalin can help you perform better in that testing and get you back on the field. It’s not like in MMA and boxing, if you are diagnosed with a concussion in a fight, you have a time frame when you can’t spar (although that is not always adhered to) and can’t fight. The time frames in major sports, as well as pro wrestling, are not usually as lengthy.

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