Every day the WWE faces the question of how to reduce the chances of brain damage caused by concussions. A physical activity like being a professional wrestler is full of moments where talent can and will likely be subject to jarring head trauma that winds up doing more than “ringing one’s bell.”
Several wrestlers have had to deal with concussions and many retire because of them. Head trauma can linger long after a concussion occurs and wrestlers who have had one are much more prone to having others. In sports, it’s become an epidemic to the point where there are concerns over the growing number of children enrolling in an activity like football thanks to concerned parents who are now more aware of the issues of diseases like CTE.
There’s really no way around it, concussions are scary. They’ve retired many a wrestler. Just to name a few of the most recognized, below are 5 Wrestlers Whose Careers Were Cut Short Thanks To Concussions.
5. Corey Graves
Most fans know Corey Graves as one of the main voices of the WWE. He’s so good at his job as an announcer that you’d never have guessed his first passion was actually as a wrestler. He came up through the ranks of the WWE system with guys like Roman Reigns and the rest of the Shield. Unfortunately, a number of concussions forced him into early retirement.
Not many wrestlers are as lucky as Graves. He was given a second perspective on a WWE career and he’s run with his new gig. He may turn into one of the longest tenured announcers by the time he’s done.
4. Christopher Nowinski
The reason Christopher Nowinski is on this list is less about his performances as an in-ring performer for the WWE (he didn’t wrestle very long) but more for what he’s accomplished since leaving the industry.
After his own concussions and the death of Chris Benoit, he used his highly educated brain to study post-concussion symptoms. Nowinski has become a leader in CTE research and education, specifically as it related to professional wrestlers. His work has played a major role in why CTE is on the minds of everyone in the WWE these days.
Christian may have gotten the least amount of fanfare when he retired and most fans probably didn’t even know he had. But, a number of injuries and concussions forced him to make a tough call and instead of coming back to the ring (which he potentially could have done) he decided to hang up his wrestling boots.
Today he’s more involved with outside projects, the WWE Network, a podcast and is still extremely close to Edge who he tagged with in the WWE for years.
2. Bret Hart
Bret Hart didn’t end his career the way he wanted to by any stretch. But, to go out thanks to a concussion from an errant kick to the head by Goldberg still has to sting. Known as the excellence of execution, Hart was adamant that wrestlers be careful with one another and that safety in the ring is of the utmost importance. He spent years working hundreds of shows and never got hurt or hurt another wrestler. It’s ironic in a way.
He tried to make a go of it after that Goldberg match but it just wasn’t to be. His consistent health since has been a concern as well.
1. Daniel Bryan
There’s a chance Daniel Bryan wrestles again. Being forced to retire at the height of his popularity, Bryan has since been cleared to wrestle by almost every doctor except the WWE’s doctor. WWE won’t release him from his contract and the WWE doctor has yet to clear him, so for now, he waits.
Not long ago, most fans would have loved to see Daniel Bryan wrestle again but voted to keep him away for his own safety. With how well he seems to have progressed in his recovery, there is a huge fanbase that can’t wait for him to be cleared for competition.
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