The Missing Link

Poster child for CTE

Poster child for CTE

There’s been a lot of talk lately about brain injuries that have led to more than a couple deaths in the world of sports and sports entertainment. By now you’ve likely heard the letters CTE and how they relate to suicides by players in the NFL and those of people such as Test and Chris Benoit. The last year or two has seen tons of lawsuits brought against the NFL by former players due to concussions and the effect on their lives after they finish playing.

A recent study has come out that states the link between concussions, or repeated head trauma, and CTE is currently unproven. This has led me to thinking about what else could contribute to the depth of CTE that leads to the suicides, and in the case of Chris Benoit the double murder and suicide. People like Junior Seau and Dave Duerson haven’t really been tied to steroids, or even HGH to my knowledge, but if you look at the build of different people in the NFL it’s clear that their builds aren’t entirely natural. Seau played so long that he almost seems to have had to use some sort of enhancement. The NFL hasn’t had any testing for HGH, really no sport has tested for it thus far, so there’s no way to know if players have used in the past or not, although a test is supposedly on the way sometime.

We know that Benoit was using steroids, and it’s a safe bet that Test was also using steroids throughout his career. With the study coming out that they can’t really find a solid link to just concussions resulting in CTE it got me thinking that maybe the PEDs and concussions together are leading to these deaths. When you have more testosterone in your body than you’re supposed to, I can only think that it has an effect on the chemicals in your brain. When you look at people like Mick Foley and Terry Funk, they’re still around and haven’t snapped even though they have each had a ton of concussions in their lifetime; at the same time I’m fairly certain neither of these men have ever used PEDs.

If your brain is already having trouble producing the chemicals you need to function properly, I have to believe that a concussion resulting in reduced blood flow in the area can’t help things. I’ve just been thinking about how a the chemicals in a woman change after a child is born and wondering what would happen if the same woman had suffered multiple concussions before this occurred. I know this may be a bit deep for a wrestling news site but it seems to be a rather big deal in the world of head shots. If it’s true that the concussions alone aren’t leading to CTE, then there’s a chance that the chair shots everyone misses could be brought back, not that I really think they are needed, but it would be an option.

I know there is a loophole in the wellness policy that allows you to use as long as you have a prescription for your substance. This means that there are still going to be people using, the main reason we may not be seeing as many psychotic events and suicides in the world of sports entertainment may be because the shots to the head have slowed. There’s a chance I’m completely wrong on this and entirely off base, but it seems like something that may need to be looked into. Right now the WWE is holding back on a lot of different things that diehard, longtime fans wish would still be allowed, even banning moves like the piledriver which is an absolute classic. I understand that you’re protecting the person from neck injuries as well, but it has to have something to do with head trauma as well.

The biggest thing that is making me think this to be the bigger problem is looking back at the old ECW stars, look at guys like Dreamer, Douglas, Sabu, Sandman, even Raven, how many of them have snapped and killed themselves or others versus still being around to this day? The NFL does bear some responsibility in the deaths of the former players but I don’t believe it to be because of not educating players on concussions and their lasting effects but because they’ve allowed people to get away with using steroids or HGH for so long. It appears that by cutting down on head trauma Vince has been able to cut down on these unfortunate incidents, but as long as the prescription loophole is there then the head shots need to stay out of the business.

It’s a shame that we’ve lost people in both fields the way we have, especially dealing with the entire Benoit tragedy. As time goes on, I seriously hope that whoever is doing all of the research on this decides to test for a connection between increased testosterone, head trauma, and CTE. I understand that people deal with post-concussion syndrome and that Foley is having issues now because of it, but at the same time he seems to be no threat at all to himself, his wife, or in any way his children. It kills me to think that we lost one of the greatest technicians in the history of professional wrestling to this, and sickens me to know that as a result of his snapping his wife was killed and that his son was murdered as well. With any luck the increase in stem cell therapy these days, as well as other medications that seem to be helping people like Bernie Kosar deal with his post-concussion symptoms, we may be able to help save lives in the future as well as making life more livable after the spotlight fades for both sports entertainers and professional football players.

  • linda

    LIke it !!!!!!

  • kbunyon

    Chris, I'm very impressed. I was hoping you were going to talk head injuries, but you took this in a direction I wasn't expecting. You did bring up a couple things I hadn't thought of.

    You brought up the chemical change in the brain of a woman just after she has a baby. You thought that might be a bit deep for a wrestling site? I call it extremely pertinent with former female wrestlers having children! Thank goodness there hasn't been any problems yet, but if you hypothesis is correct, then it's very possible.

    What were you trying to say about the ECW guys? I kind of missed that point. Though completely off topic, the nicest and jerkiest wrestlers I've ever met are both in that short list you posted. Not that personality has to do with any of this, I just find it very interesting. Could you explain further?

    Again, thanks for posting this, I'm very impressed.

    • Chris Surrency

      Just seems like those guys took some wicked head shots and had to experience concussions repeatedly yet none have killed themselves or anyone else, and none of them have really been linked to steroids to my knowledge. ECW originals may be what could prove, or disprove, my theory. While Benoit was an ECW guy to an extent, he was clearly linked to steroids. It just seems interesting that guys who took more abuse than many others are still alive and functioning while people like Test and the Benoit family are no longer here.