A recently amended lawsuit against WWE claims that three former pro wrestlers were diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) after their deaths.
WWE Hall of Famers Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Harry “Mr. Fuji” Fujiwara, as well as ECW legend Axl Rotten, were listed in attorney Konstantine Kyros’ complaint filed against the company as having suffered from the disease during their careers and experiencing long-term neurological damage.
Snuka and Fujiwara hadn’t previously been diagnosed publicly — although Snuka’s attorneys claimed he suffered from dementia when he served as a defendant in a murder trial prior to his death in January. Rotten was posthumously diagnosed with the disease in 2016, eight months after he died of a heroin overdose.
WWE responded to the complaint by questioning Kyros’ integrity in an official statement:
[Kyros] has been repeatedly admonished by the court for presenting false and misleading information, and no medical report was included in this filing. We will review the medical reports when they are made available to us and respond appropriately via the judicial system.
According to the civil suit, “WWE has failed to warn, fraudulently misrepresented, and concealed from the Plaintiffs the nature and extent of the occupational long-term neurological injuries.” The company has denied concealing medical information or evidence in the past, claiming it “is impossible since the condition now called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) had not even been discovered” the previous plaintiffs’ careers.
Additionally, Andrew “Test” Martin, Balls Mahoney and Chris Benoit are among the six total wrestlers posthumously diagnosed with CTE.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease commonly found in athletes, military veterans and others that have experienced a repetitive trend of brain trauma, according to ConcussionFoundation.org. When the disease occurs, a protein called Tau develops clumps that spread throughout the brain, which results in the killing of brain cells.
Symptoms of the disease can affect a person’s mood or behavior, which may result in impulse control problems, aggression, depression and paranoia. As it progresses, the patient may also experience symptoms of memory loss, confusion, impaired judgement and eventually progressive dementia as well.