After the death of former WWE superstar Chyna, the wrestler’s brain will be donated to science to study any possible effects of CTE damage caused through her years of wrestling. MSN reported that her manager, Anthony Anzaldo, has donated the brain of the WWE star to Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist whose battles with the NFL was documented in the movie Concussion.
There has been a lot of research lately when it comes to the effects of trauma on the brain due to contact sports. With lawsuits rising against the NFL for concussions causing CTE damage in the brain, the entire situation has become a hot-bed topic. NFL stars such as Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, Frank Gifford, and Junior Seau have had their brains donated to science and they have been diagnosed with CTE.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 26, 2016
This is also nothing new for the WWE. Former WWE star Christopher Nowinski is a Harvard graduate who was forced to retire from active competition after a year of post-concussion symptoms after suffering a major concussion in a match with the Dudley Boyz.
Since retiring from the WWE, Nowinski wrote a book about CTE and concussions called Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis. He is also the co-founder and executive director of a non-profit organization called the Sports Legacy Institute. Along with D. Omalu, Nowinski is one of the people most responsible for bringing the dangers of CTE to the public eye.
In February, after former WWE world champion Daniel Bryan announced his retirement due to concussion issues, Nowinski issued a statement to Fox Sports about concussions to wrestlers and how hard it is for them to accept the decision to retire.
“I felt extraordinary sympathy for Daniel. It’s tough to walk away when you feel like you could still perform. In a sense, I was lucky because I had headaches I couldn’t kick and other problems that told me I shouldn’t go out and do (wrestling) again. He didn’t have that. He had to really dig deep to find the justification to walk away from the job he loved.”
When it comes to Chyna, she had walked away from her life as a wrestler, although it was not her decision. Chyna was almost forced to leave the WWE and quit her job as a wrestler there when her real-life boyfriend Triple H left her for Stephanie McMahon. That caused a strife between Chyna and the WWE that never healed.
She tried to continue to work as a wrestler, going to TNA Impact Wrestling and New Japan Professional Wrestling, but soon retired as an active wrestler and moved on to an adult film career. That move also worked against her ever reconciling with the WWE thanks to their move to more PG-rated entertainment.
The WWE remembered the legacy of Chyna when they offered a video tribute to the former wrestler on WWE Monday Night RAW after her death. There wer also a number of superstars who remembered what she meant as a wrestler, including both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, who took to Twitter to call her a pioneer in the industry. Stephenie’s brother Shane McMahon also posted a photo of him and the wrestler from many years ago.
According to ESPN, Chyna’s death looks to possibly be that of an accidental drug overdose. Regardless of the actual cause of death, Anzaldo said that he wants to know what caused Chyna to end up where she did at the end of her life and wants to know if CTE was the reason.
“We want to donate her brain. We want to know what made Chyna tick.”
Whatever is discovered when it comes to the CTE examination, the fact remains that Chyna was one of the biggest stars in the WWE in the biggest era of sport’s entertainment. When it comes to Chyna, the wrestler, there was never a female bigger than her in the business.
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