Former WWE star Chris Nowinski and his Sports Legacy Institute issued the following statement about WWE instating a concussion awarenesses program:
WWE STEPS UP TO THE PLATE
Chris Nowinski has heard from anonymous professional wrestlers in World Wrestling Entertainment that WWE management has instituted a concussion management program. At a mandatory meeting for all performers in early March WWE performers took a computerized neuropsychological testing protocol, which evaluates such things as memory, cognitive skills, and reaction time. They will be re-tested aggressively every 6 months to look for long term issues, as well as re-tested after suspected concussions to help determine when it is safe to return to in-ring action. Nowinski heard conflicting reports of whether or not any concussion education was provided along with the baseline testing. One current wrestler told Chris that if it wasn’t for recent concussion awareness efforts by organizations like the SLI, he still wouldn’t know what a concussion is or why he took the test.
Congratulations to WWE for taking a proactive step in protecting the health of their athletes. The Sports Legacy Institute is proud that the analysis they performed on the late WWE performer Chris Benoit’s brain, which found extensive brain damage caused by concussions and other head trauma, directly led to this action. SLI believes efforts like these will help prevent events similar to the Benoit family tragedy of 2007 from happening in the future.
Upon hearing the news, Chris Benoit’s father Michael Benoit said, "I think it’s great. I think the industry has to embrace the medical science. If they don’t take actions like this, they just care about the talent." SLI encourages other sports leagues to take similar measures to protect athletes, especially youth athletes, and is available at sportslegacy.org to help make it a reality.