Dozens of retired retired wrestlers, led by Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, are suing WWE, claiming the company purposely hid the long-term effects of brain damage associated with performing inside the squared circle.
Snuka – who deals with dementia – and the accusers are alleging WWE failed to care for its wrestlers’ repeated head injuries “in any medically competent or meaningful manner,” while also failing to accurately disclose the nature of long-term brain trauma (per Bloomberg).
According to the retired wrestlers, WWE “placed corporate gain over its wrestlers’ health, safety and financial security, choosing to leave the plaintiffs severely injured and with no recourse to treat their damaged minds and bodies.”
The company has taken some strides in eliminating head trauma inside the ring, recently banning the use of certain moves like chair shots to the head.
WWE has also altered the way it handles its talent after being diagnosed with concussions or any other neurological-related injuries. Daniel Bryan, long seen as a fan favorite before and during his run with WWE, was forced to retire after the company refused to grant him medical clearance to return to the ring after suffering troubling symptoms from multiple head injuries.
The Vince McMahon-run company now becomes the latest professional sports organization to be sued by former athletes over neurological injuries, joining the National Football League and the National Hockey League. The NFL has previously paid out $765 million to its 18,000 retired players in 2013.
WWE representatives have yet to publicly respond to the allegations brought before the company.