SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – First the NFL, now the world of pro wrestling is dealing with the concussion issue. Two former wrestlers are suing World Wrestling Entertainment, saying what happened in the ring gave them brain damage.
A wrestling school in the South Bay said there’s risk in every move.READ MORE: UPDATE: Police Shootings Protest In Oakland Turns Violent; Windows Broken, Fires Ignited; Businesses Vandalized
In the ring he was “Skull Von Krush.” “I’m famous for a diving headbutt,” the wrestler recalled, along with other moves such as the “brain buster” and “face breaker.”
Now 50, Vito LoGrasso is fighting a different battle. Doctors say he has brain damage.
“The headaches, the deafness, the depression I suffer, I deal with it. It’s part of my life now,” LoGrasso said.
LoGrasso and former wrestler Evan Singleton are suing the WWE in federal court.
“I knew there was something wrong with me,” Singleton said.
The 22-year-old said in one of his first matches he was dropped on his head and suffered brain damage.
“What am I gonna do with the rest of my life? I’m scared,” Singleton said.
The wrestlers’ claim, “WWE’s use of weapons and elaborate staging make its wrestlers particularly susceptible to injuries, including brain damage.”READ MORE: Kansas Camper Arrested In Connection With Boulder Creek Vegetation Fires
Harris Pogust, the wrestlers’ attorney, said the WWE knew, or should have known the risks.
“Somebody’s got to say stop. You know, somebody’s got to say stop instead of enticing them to get back in,” Pogust said.
At Pro Wrestling Revolution Academy in San Jose, where they teach and train pro wrestlers, the whole point is to avoid injury while still giving the audience a massive hit.
“But the difference between what we do in professional wrestling than every other sport is that you’re risking your body on every absolute movement you do in the ring,” said Gabriel Ramirez, who owns the academy.
“We’re also going to teach you to be a smart wrestler in that ring and protect your body, protect the person across from you and try to have a long career,” Ramirez said.
But the lawyer for WWE said the company did not conceal medical information and, the simulated combat never called for real injuries in the ring.
“It’s at the best interest of the company to take care of its talent, because if the talent aren’t healthy they can’t perform,” said WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt.
He also says, as soon as WWE better understood the potential dangers of concussions, it looked at which moves could be finessed, or even eliminated.MORE NEWS: Four Wounded In Overnight San Jose Shootings
On Thursday the widow of wrestler Nelson “Big Daddy V.” Frazier filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the WWE saying concussions and depression brought on by his time in the ring lead to his death.