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Tha Concussion Discussion

About a week ago Randy Orton suffered a concussion during a match while in Spain. The upcoming pay per view Capital Punishment, featuring him, was in danger if he was still hurt by then. To Orton’s credit, he kept fans updated on his progress. Hogan, Warrior? This is how you use twitter.

“About to take an Impact test. It will determine if I can be cleared to fight Christian, after receiving a concussion. Wish me luck.” - @RandyOrton

Orton later tweeted that he had indeed passed the impact test and was cleared to wrestle this Sunday. Uh, yay? Should I be happy that he can wrestle a week after suffering a concussion? There are many forms and stages of concussions but they all have one thing in common.

They are fucking traumatic brain injuries!

With all of the things we now know and are still learning about concussions is it smart for Orton to wrestle so soon? To me, no. Orton is one of the few last wrestlers I have enjoyed watching in the past years. It sucks that he got hurt and it sucks even more that he’ll be back in the ring. This isn’t for Wrestlemania. Its for a random ass pay per view with a bad name in the middle of the year!

This “the show must go on” bullshit needs to stop. HHH continuing after tearing his quads. Austin wrestling after damn near being paralyzed. Dozens (if not hundreds) of wrestlers continuing after suffering brain injuries. I get that wrestlers are supposed to be bigger than life and almost superheroes, especially if you own WWE All Stars, but come on. Fucking rest.

If I planned on ordering the show and found out that the card had changed because someone I liked got hurt I like to think I would wish them well and to take their time coming back. But most wrestling fans don’t think like that anymore. We have this cutthroat mentality where we want them to go on no matter what. Its partially our fault as fans and the wrestlers faults as well. If you keep pretending that you cant be hurt and then get hurt people will feel no sympathy. If you get a concussion and come back next week but hurt your shoulder and vanish for longer then people get pissed.

Orton was knocked out in the ring. In boxing that’s the end of the fight. In MMA you’ll probably stand there pissed as your opponent gets a bonus for knocking you unconscious. Football, basketball, baseball? Shows over. In wrestling, or “sports entertainment”, it means you keep quiet about it or get tests and come back to face the same guys who accidentally KO’d you. Wrestling is acting. If Robert Dinero got knocked out on set shooting is done for the day.

This is another problem and a topic for another article. Wrestling isn’t called wrestling. Its entertainment. But in entertainment when people get hurt they get time to rest. But if these entertaining wrestlers rest they fear getting replaced. Orton is in a position and has so much “it” that he cant be replaced. So I would like it if he just sat this one out. But you all know how these sports entertainers are.

10 comments: on "Tha Concussion Discussion"

Adam Seguin said...

100% Agreed. And the sad thing is despite Orton being injury proned, the way he works makes it harder for him to get injured like he did before and it's still doing significant damage to his body. Fact is no matter how much a guy slows down in the ring or does less, they're still prone to these serious injuries.

I don't like to "Benoit-ify" this topic because that's an easy way to discredit the point, but in an industry where these guys take so much bodily harm, why isn't their a system that can prevent these guys from working hurt without being threatened of losing their spot?

But the sad fact is WWE is in a position where they can't spare not having Orton, Cena or Taker on a card that these guys really don't have much choice when it comes to their own personal health.

Dante Ross said...

I’m not sure what Orton can do to stop getting hurt besides not rushing back after getting hurt. He has changed his style quite a bit since he first arrived. If you watch his early stuff his was more high flying and of course since he was new taking more beatings. Much like The Rock and John Cena.

“Losing their spot” is something that even though I am tired of hearing but I cant say doesn’t exist. Look at all the NXT guys that got hurt and as soon as they were I said “They’ll be in TNA soon enough.” Orton doesn’t have to worry about this. WWE has the Wellness Policy but that seems to be something better suited for past employees. Can you imagine walking up to an agent and saying “I’m an addict” and them patting you on the back for being strong for admitting it? I cant either. But I can see them doing it for you dragging your messed up body to the ring just to get hurt again.

Every top guy has been injured. It happens. They can spare someone being hurt. If Orton, Cena, and HHH got hurt then it would be time for everyone else to get a chance. We cant talk like these are children being forced to go to school. I was talking to a friend yesterday about how strange it would be if you had someone die at work and you continued working around them. Or if you broke a limb or tore a muscle and you hid it for fear of losing your “spot.” Yeah, wrestlers are a different breed. I’m just questioning whether this breed is good at their life choices.

AdamSeguin said...

My instincts would tell me to write that nothing will change until something really big and bad happens as a result of this but it's already happened many times. It's become almost like WWE or certain individuals within WWE get paranoid when stuff like this occurs but as soon as it's "cleared up" they forgot it's ever happened without thinking about whether it'll ever happen again.

Sadly I don't see anything happening to change this. No new regulations are going to be forced upon WWE because the general consensus is that nobody outside of wrestling fans give a shit about WWE or wrestling for that matter.

Can WWE spare Orton, Cena or HHH? I don't think so. WWE doesn't look prepared to push new fresh faces in the main event. And I'm not saying it in a way that gives off the impression of "AWH! These guys are always in the main event!" But maybe if they had more guys, those three guys wouldn't always have to be relied on to perform so much and they could actually get some R&R time.

I really don't know a possible scenario that can change this because everything has already happened to them and they have that "we've faced that storm and passed it eventually" mentality.

Dante Ross said...

There was a time when everyone said that no one could replace Austin, The Rock, and HHH. Hell, even Angle to an extent. But guys like Orton and Cena have stepped up. Its not up to just WWE but fans to cheer something new instead of shitting on it. I like Del Rios and wish him nothing but continued success.

The problem is that there is so much free TV and PPV's all year that even when something is new it gets old real fast.

Lukewarmer said...

Sergio Perez an F1 racing driver crashed in Monaco during qualifying for the Grand Prix on Sunday.

He was injured with a Mild Concussion and a thigh sprain. they took him to hospital, ok'd him on the thigh sprain but refused to allow him to leave because of the concussion.

He crashed on Saturday they released him on Tuesday from the hospital. 2 weeks later he got back in his car on Friday for free practice 1 at the Canadian Grand Prix went out for the session decided he didnt feel well enough and was given the weekend of.

Now does that seem like over cautiousness about the concussion, or is that how serious a concussion should be treated?

AdamSeguin said...

I'm not saying the fans won't cheer for anyone other than Cena or Orton...but rather the company has showed us they are incapable of making those new stars.

They've done good with Alberto, but look at Kofi & Ziggler, they could've been those guys to step up but then someone in the back had cold feet and moved them back to where they were years ago.

If the company can't make new names to be suitable replacements for these guys, then it looks like they will continue working hurt and in a state of danger.

Dante Ross said...

I personally think that concussions should be treated very seriously. Even if you are cleared to wrestle time should be taken off. Not flying around the globe. Even if Orton for example just stayed home until the PPV. Make people miss him.

To me there wouldn't be mild, moderate, or severe concussions. Especially in wrestling where they are being hidden because guys don't want to lose "spots."

The F'ing Doctor said...

As a medical student and someone who has had some concussion problems in the past, Lukewarmer the answer is both.

As of now, there is no real "test" to effective and accurately grade the long term effects and severity of a concussion, and we may get there, or we may not.

I've had major concussions in the past, one particularly where I lost consciousness and went back on the field, feeling fine, and apparently playing one of the greatest games I've ever played. So much so a scout offered me a scholarship on the spot. The next day wasn't as bad, but after a week, I began feeling the effects. I was sluggish, a half step off my timing, I began to drop/miss things I normally easily could have dealt with. I went to my doctor, he said I had my bell rung and soon enough I’d be fine. 3 weeks later, I was myself again.

Fast forward 3 years later, and a simple bump to the head playing catch with my nephew put me in a hospital for 6 weeks. I couldn't sleep, I didn't eat, and my attitude, demeanour and personality changed. This isn't bullshit, it's the truth. I still find myself looking for words at times, notice my speech sometimes slur, and my concentration levels are gone to hell. Teachers since have speculated I may have ADD, I’m convinced it’s from a series of concussions.

8 years ago when I got cheapshotted (if that's even a word) I was back on my feet. Call is resiliency, call it stupidity, or call it ignorance on the part of myself, my coaches or our team doctor. 10 years ago, you got a concussion, you were told to walk it off, get your head clear and back you went. If you didn’t you were labelled soft, or worse still a pussy. My coach was my own uncle, and he always said when we got hurt and it wasn’t “serious” in his eyes (essentially if you’re not coughing up blood or a bone is sticking out of your skin) he told us to man the fuck up or take up ballet instead. This came from a SOCCER coach. I’d hate to think what would have happened had I played football, and the coach was not my uncle.

Back on point; with the unfortunate happenings to athletes (Chris Benoit, Dave Duerson, Bob Probert) concussions and CTE, TBI’s and the like are the hot topic issue in the mainstream media, and all the focus is going into brain research.

But these things are unfortunately cyclical in nature. Every few years the next major scare happens, we freak out, and hope to find a cause, solution and diagnosis. Remember when heart conditions and the deaths of prominent athletes was the craze? Look back to Alexei Cherpanov, Jiri Fischer (he didn't die, but nearly did) and of course to bring it back to wrestling, Eddy Guerrero. WWE instituted the heart wellness tests and perhaps saved MVP from dying in the ring. That same cardio test may have saved Mario Lemieux from dying on the ice, and now, we're hoping that the sins of the past may save the athletes of the future from dying a horrible death, or worse, harming those they love without realizing it.

My point in all this is simple. You can be as cautious as you want, but these things will happen, and even if we as a society come to terms on how to properly diagnose, care for and treat any disease/injury/accident, something else will come out for us to deal with. Is Orton legit cleared? Who knows. The doctors as of now say he is, but much like a draft, the true outcome won’t be known until it is too late. Just remember, 1500 years ago, everybody KNEW that the sun revolved around the earth. 500 years ago, everybody KNEW that the Earth was flat. 10 days ago, doctors knew Randy’s concussion won’t affect him short or long term...much like how doctors until 100 years ago felt that the best way to fight a disease was to cover you in leeches and let them suck out the bad blood. We now KNOW that’s bad, but won’t know for sure about this concussion issue until long after all of us are gone.

Dante Ross said...

Thanks for sharing that, by the way. I've banged the shit out of my head multiple times growing up, seeing stars and feeling "off" for days but parents didn't take me to the hospital. Who knows what's wrong with my head? Digress!

So it sounds like people should just continue as they are because we'll be able to figure it out better later? I, and I'm sure you are as well, sick of wrestlers dying. Anything they can do to help, do it. Joe Rogan on one of his recent shows was talking about UFC talking a while ago about having them wear helmets. I'm sure if NFL players from the past where they wore leather helmets and...clothes would think what it is worn today strange.

We slowly got used to no more piledrivers, as many chairshots (unless you wrestle in TNA), and when I was little being DQ'd for throwing someone over the top rope in NWA was fine.

Lukewarmer said...

Found this advice in an article in the New York Times Thursday, June 30, 2011

An initial "baseline" neurological evaluation by a health care worker determines appropriate treatment for an uncomplicated concussion. If a blow to the head during athletics leads to a bad headache, a feeling of being confused (dazed), or unconsciousness, a trained person must determine when the person can return to playing sports.

I agree with you Dante that all concussions are and should be treated as serious. And if that is the case, then there must be an obligation put on the employers as well as the employees who suffer the concussion to get the medical help needed, but the onus must surely be put on the Employer to not allow the employee to work until they have been officially cleared to work by a qualified person.

We expect wrestlers to work and fight through every injury that they get, and we have that expectation because we have lived with it for decades, its just a shame that even in the face of the current evidence that nothing will change.