Dozens of retired WWE wrestlers are suing the company for neurological injuries they claim to have suffered by participating in wrestling matches. According to a news report, the complaint was filed on behalf of wrestlers including Joseph Laurinatis, better known as “Road Warrior Animal” and Jimmy Snuka aka “Superfly.”
The lawsuit accuses WWE of concealing the risks of head injuries that occur from performing, and classifying them as “independent contractors” rather than employees as a means to avoid liability. The lawsuit alleges that WWE placed corporate gain over its wrestlers’ health, safety and financial security, leaving them with no way to treat their damaged bodies and minds. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as improved medical monitoring.
Serious Medical Problems Reported
WWE is not the only sports league to be sued by former players for head injuries and traumatic brain injuries. The National Football League and the National Hockey League have also faced similar lawsuits over head injuries. Plaintiffs in this case accused the WWE of concealing the risks of degenerative brain disease such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, which are attributable to wrestling, including through scripted, choreographed moves.
Lifelong Injuries and Disabilities
A lawyer for the plaintiffs also said WWE’s “exploitative business model” kept participants from learning their rights under laws such as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. The complaint states that some of the WWE stars suffer from cognitive difficulties, headaches, dizziness, memory loss, confusion, depression and mood swings.
CTE, a disease connected to repeated concussions, is even said to have pushed NFL players like Junior Seau to commit suicide. Researchers who have studied the brains of former NFL players say that concussions and even head injuries that were previously believed to be minor can have a long-term impact on the health and well-being of athletes.
Our brain injury lawyers will be closely watching the WWE case. Be it a sports league or an entertainment company, it is unacceptable to put profits ahead of the safety and well-being of human beings. WWE has dismissed the lawsuit as “ridiculous.” But the fact that 53 players have joined to file the lawsuit raises some serious questions.