Traumatic brain injuries have been very much on the minds of professional athletes and fans in every avenue of sports over the past few years. A lot of pioneering work in the field of brain injury and study was done by a former pro wrestler, of course — Tough Enough contestant Chris Nowinski, who founded the Sports Legacy Institute. While former NFL players have sued their league for failing to disclose information about brain injuries, similar lawsuits brought against WWE by former wrestlers have had less luck. But that might soon change.
WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka is the most notable name in a class action lawsuit being brought against the company by a huge group of former stars, as first reported by Bloomberg. Snuka was most recently in the news when he was deemed unfit to stand trial for the 1983 murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino.
The retired wrestlers say the WWE deliberately ignored and hid from them “medically important and possibly lifesaving information” about specific neurological conditions, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, that affect wrestlers and athletes who play contact sports prone to head trauma.
“The WWE knows that its wrestlers including the plaintiffs are at great risk for these diseases such as CTE that can result in suicide, drug abuse and violent behavior that pose a danger to not only the athletes themselves but their families and community, yet the WWE does nothing to warn, educate or provide treatment to them,” the wrestlers said in the suit.
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against WWE is Road Warrior Animal, a.k.a. Joseph Laurinaitis. The case is officially titled “Laurinaitis v. World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., 3:16-cv-01209” and was filed at the U.S. District Court, in the New Haven District of Connecticut.
The other members of the lawsuit are a veritable who’s who of wrestling across multiple generations.
WWE has issued a statement in response to the lawsuit, which reads as follows:
“This is another ridiculous attempt by the same attorney who has previously filed class action lawsuits against WWE, both of which have been dismissed. A federal judge has already found that this lawyer made patently false allegations about WWE, and this is more of the same. We’re confident this lawsuit will suffer the same fate as his prior attempts and be dismissed.”