Over 50 former professional wrestlers are suing the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) for long-term serious head injuries that were the result of choreographed fights for the network.
In over 200 pages, the lawsuit alleges that Vince McMahon, CEO and chairman of the WWE, knew about the effects of repeated head trauma and about the dangers of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), but focused on WWE's profits over the safety of the wrestlers. The class action lawsuit includes 53 plaintiffs and was filed in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut.
Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, a famous pro wrestler, is one of the plaintiffs in the case. In June, the now 73-year-old was deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial for murder and manslaughter charges against him in a decades-old case about the death of his former girlfriend. Expert psychologists testified that Snuka suffered extreme dementia as a result of CTE.
Sports Organizations and CTE
The WWE is not the only sports organization facing allegations of ignored CTE. The National Hockey League, the National Football League, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association have all faced class-action lawsuits involving CTE. But while players of the other organizations focused on the negligence of officials who failed to take action against CTE, the wrestlers of WWE argue that as a choreographed sport, the CTE injuries are the direct result of WWE organizers.
The WWE released this statement in response to the lawsuit, “"This is another ridiculous attempt by the same attorney who has previously filed class-action lawsuits against WWE, both of which have been dismissed. A federal judge has already found that this lawyer made patently false allegations about WWE, and this is more of the same."
Individual players have filed claims against the WWE before. Some of the cases were dismissed, and some are still ongoing.
In one case, U.S. Judge Vanessa Bryant dismissed the case writing “Plaintiffs were professional wrestlers who were financially compensated to engage in an activity in which physical violence was a known and even purposeful part of the activity, They were injured by other participants in what the plaintiffs describe as a ‘scripted' performance and thus in a manner that the plaintiff knew or should have reasonably anticipated.”
Debilitating Effects of CTE
CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that is the result of repeated concussions over a period of time. It's become common in athletes who play contact sports, and in men and women in the military. CTE both causes the brain to deteriorate and lose mass and changes the cellular structure of the brain. Individuals with CTE will suffer memory problems, erratic behavior, dementia, aggression, depression, and balance problems. There is no cure or treatment for CTE.
About 90% of all CTE cases occur in athletes. Studies have found that almost 96% of NFL players test positive for CTE.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of an organized sport, you may be eligible for compensation. Call our office today for a free consultation.