Chyna’s Brain To Be Donated For Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Research

Joan Marie Lauer

Chyna’s brain will reportedly be donated for chronic traumatic encephalopathy research. The former WWE wrestler’s manager, Anthony Anzaldo, said he was initially contacted by Dr. Bennet Omalu’s representatives prior to Chyna’s death. Although she was not interested in participating in Omalu’s research before she died, Anzaldo said he is trying to convince her family to donate her brain to the famed forensic pathologist for CTE studies.

As described by Boston University, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is an irreversible degenerative brain disease, which is specifically prominent in athletes who have suffered repetitive brain trauma, including concussions.

Although brain trauma can be life-threatening, it can be asymptomatic. Unfortunately, the full impact of the trauma may not be realized until months or years later.

“This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau. These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement.”

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy usually presents with confusion, depression, and memory loss. As the disease progresses, CTE patients experience dementia and eventual death.

Dr. Bennet Omalu is credited with discovering CTE in the brains of current and former football players.

Omalu remains a strong advocate for athletes who suffer traumatic brain injuries. In addition to conducting further research into the issue, he was instrumental in initiating a lawsuit against WWE on behalf of patients who suffered traumatic brain injuries while participating in the sport.

The New York Daily News report is unclear whether Chyna’s brain will enhance Dr. Bennet Omalu’s current research, because it is unclear whether she ever suffered a concussion or other brain injury. However, Anthony Anzaldo confirmed Chyna “endured physical injuries” throughout her career. Anzaldo said Chyna’s brain is also of interest to Dr. Omalu because she was a victim of domestic violence.

A native of Rochester, New York, Chyna was born Joan Marie Laurer. Prior to her career in wrestling, Lauer attended high school in Spain on a United Nations scholarship. She then moved back to the United States to attend the University of Tampa, where she earned a degree in Spanish literature.

Although she had a keen interest in physical fitness and began competing in college, Chyna was also dedicated to making the world a better place.

Following college graduation, she traveled to Costa Rica with the Peace Corps and taught literacy to disadvantaged children.

About Entertainment reports, Chyna began her pro wrestling career in 1995. Two years later, she made her WWE debut as Triple H’s bodyguard.

Although female wrestlers are not uncommon, Chyna was unique because she participated in fights against men. In 1999, she became the first female wrestler to participate in WWE’s Royal Rumble Match.

Chyna had great success with her WWE career. However, she did not renew her contract, which expired in 2000.

“There was never an official reason why Chyna left the company. However, circumstantial evidence seems to suggest that her leaving had to do with a love triangle involving her, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon.”

Following her stint WWE, Chyna dropped the stage name and was known as Joanie Laurer and China Doll. Over the next 14 years, she posed for Playboy, appeared in numerous reality television programs, and starred in several pornographic films.

As reported by CBS News, Chyna was found dead on April 20, 2016, in her Redondo Beach, California, apartment. The performer was 45-years-old. Although her cause of death was not yet released, authorities confirmed “there were no indications the death was the result of foul play.”

If Anthony Anzaldo has his way, Chyna’s brain will be donated to Dr. Bennet Omalu for chronic traumatic encephalopathy research. The former WWE wrestler’s family has not commented about Anzaldo’s plans.

[Photo by Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images]