With any sport, there’s a high risk involved. However, wrestling takes a major toll on the whole body from the high-flying maneuvers to the grueling schedule. Some professional wrestlers have taken it to a legal scale due to the long-term impact of their injuries. Here are the highlights:
- The U.S. Supreme Court denied hearing the appeals of former pro-wrestlers such as William “Billy Jack” Haynes and Russ “Big Russ McCullough who claimed in lawsuits against the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) that it failed to protect them from head injuries that led to brain damage.
- More than 50 former wrestlers from the 1980s and 1990s sued the WWE for knowing the risks of head injuries but not alerting the wrestlers.
- Consequently, Snuka and Fujiwara ended up passing in 2017 and 2016 from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
- U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant dismissed several cases in 2018 ruling there was no evidence the WWE knew about the long-term effects of any head injuries from the wrestlers.
- The WWE denied these wrongdoings despite the numerous cases brought up in court. Jerry McDevitt, a WWE lawyer, felt vindicated when the ruling was in the WWE’s favor.
- The wrestlers’ lawyer, Konstantine Kyros, said the WWE exploited them. The wrestlers are dying of CTE despite the inaction of the courts. He said they deserved their basic human rights as U.S. citizens.
- Bryant criticized Kyros in 2018 for not complying with court rules and orders. She ordered him to pay WWE’s legal fees to the tune of $500,000.