Former WWE wrestler Christopher Nowinski said in a radio interview earlier this week, in which the transcript is posted on SportsradioInterviews.com he doesn’t believe the WWE has a safe working environment for its wrestlers. He said one of the main reasons for his statement is that there is no formal policy for what happens if a wrestler is hurt or knocked out. “There are plenty of stories about guys getting hit in the head during a match, everybody knowing they’re blacked out on their feet, yet they don’t have a protocol in place to stop the match. It’s absurd…I feel it’s something the feds should look into because that’s not a safe work environment.”
Nowinski has done extensive research into brain damage resulting from repeated concussions that affects pro athletes, especially wrestlers. He says the WWE exposes its wrestlers to excessive risk despite having complete control over scripted matches and elements – such as chair shots which have been a big part of matches, although the WWE has recently toned down now due to being a PG product.
“There are two major issues with wrestling. The one that is really frustrating about the poor management of concussions is because wrestling is performance and is essentially fake; you can work around an athlete and not take away from the show,” Nowinski said. “On the flip-side, I think the risk of having a guy who has been concussed in the ring too fast is greater than it is in other sports.” Nowinski made the top news headlines this week when three NFL players signed on with Nowinski’s Sports Legacy Institute to donate their brains for research and raise awareness for concussions in sports. Nowinski stressed that the WWE isn’t doing enough on their end of things. “I think what happens in the WWE is a real shame. I think those guys are pretty badly exploited,” Nowinski said. “I was not too happy about what was in place when I had my concussions in terms of there were no proper management protocols in place, there wasn’t education in place and people didn’t know what to do with me, but also the way they handled the (Chris) Benoit situation.”
The WWE’s latest Wellness Policy now includes mandatory brain scans to the list of tests a wrestler must pass before they can sign a contract with the company. The reason for the scan is to detect possible concussion issues before a wrestler is put on the company’s payroll. Nowinski stressed more should be done to monitor wrestlers.