February 07, 2008

A Fight to the Death: CBC program The Fifth Estate investigates the effects of undiagnosed concussions in WWE wrestler Chris Benoit's tragic demise. Also relevant to other SpoFi threads about NFL disability pensions, etc.

posted by Spitztengle to general at 09:13 PM - 6 comments

somewhat related - New aggressive treatment of concussions [via]

posted by garfield at 10:29 AM on February 08, 2008

No real comment here, just wanted to say what an informative post this was, Spitz. I hope, for these athelete's sake, that doctors like these continue their great work in increasing the understanding of the human brain and the catastrophic consequences that can occur when it is damaged.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:09 PM on February 08, 2008

Saw the documentary the other night. Fascinating stuff. I'm a pro-wrestling fan. I haven't followed WWE in a number of years now, but Benoit was such a pervasive force in wrestling. You trace the history of professional wrestling, in Canada, Japan and the US, and Benoit is woven through it all. My wife actually knew Chris in his early "Stampede" days. She's still upset about everything now, as the guy she knew would never have done something like Chris did on his final days. Thankfully it seems wrestling IS changing. At end of last year, Ring of Honor, arguably the top indie promotion in the US, pulled Nigel McGuinness from a show due to a concussion. He came out to announce this, and a bunch of the fans called him a pussy, hurled abuse at him etc... In wrestling, fans like that carry a degree of blame for wrestlers continuing to perform when they shouldn't IMO. It's pressure from fans, along with wanting to "keep their spot" that keeps these guys working when they should be recuperating and healing. The industry isn't going to change overnight, but Ring of Honor is hopefully a sign of growing change. That wrestlers will be benched when they should be. Because when you have a concussion, the last person who should make the decision as to what's best for you is yourself. What's interesting is another subset of fans think they know everything, and assume they know exactly how Nigel got the concussion, on what move etc... (They assume it was on a particular high risk move etc...) This was covered on the Wrestling Observer website. This prompted Nigel himself to write and say that this was completely wrong, and rather than a high risk move, his concussion came from something relatively asinine. Basically if someone takes ten hits to the head over their career, it won't necessarily be the hardest shot that causes a concussion. What's disturbing is I've had several major concussions during my life, and I see a few of the symptoms in myself. Short term memory problems. Anger. Depression etc... They may be completely unrelated, but it does worry me. Thanks for giving the documentary a wider audience, Spitz.

posted by Drood at 03:37 PM on February 08, 2008

It's worth noting than when New Zealand international rugby player Leon McDonald suffered 3 concussions in a couple of years he was advised to quit contact sports by a couple of neurologists. Unfortunately the IRB, presumably bending to pressure from teams unhappy at losing stars, have changed their rules from a mandatory 3 week stand-down after concussion to a bunch of tests administered by the team doctor (cite), which seems like a recipie for long-term problems.

posted by rodgerd at 01:24 AM on February 09, 2008

I agree Drood. The pressure to get back in the ring, on to the field/court is tremendous. I think management (read Vince MacMahon) is more concerned with the bottom line than a wrestler's health. I wonder how Vince will feel when his son-in-law starts to suffer these effects. Wasn't it concussions that finally made Troy Aikman retire? Also Steve Young?

posted by steelergirl at 07:54 AM on February 09, 2008

And Eric Lindros, and Pat LaFontaine, and Merrell Hodge, and countless others.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:10 PM on February 09, 2008

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