More than 50 ex-wrestlers have filed a Connecticut lawsuit stating that World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. is responsible for their long-term neurological damage and failed to care for their injuries.
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Joseph “Road Warrior Animal” Laurinaitis and Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff are among the plaintiffs who filed suit Monday in federal court in Connecticut against Stamford-based WWE.
WWE denies the allegations. They said that an attorney for the ex-wrestlers previously has made false claims against the company and filed lawsuits that ended up being dismissed.
The plaintiffs allege they suffered concussions and other head trauma that resulted in long-term brain damage.
Snuka is charged in the 1983 death of his girlfriend near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial, and his defense partly blames head trauma suffered in the ring.
Repetitive or single blows to the head can cause concussions, something that is commonly referred to as traumatic brain injuries or TBIs. These hits to the head can cause a degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy – CTE. CTE happens when repetitive head trauma results in the production of abnormal proteins in the brain known as “tau.” Tau proteins essentially knot the brain’s blood vessels, which can disrupt normal functioning and will eventually kill nerve cells.
Early stages of CTE involve memory loss, disorientation, rage, confusion and dizziness. As the disease progresses, more symptoms appear, including poor judgement and dementia. In severe cases of CTE, you can see impaired speech, vertigo, tremors and deafness.