Set to appear during the The Rock/John Cena question-and-answer session on the March 25 edition of Raw, Flair was examined by a local doctor hours before the show started because he didn't feel well. He was sent home to Charlotte, N.C., for further testing.
Flair's agent, Melinda Morris Zanoni of North Carolina-based Legacy Talent and Entertainment, sent out a statement detailing what doctors in Charlotte have discovered and what was ordered for the 16-time world champion to do. The statement, picked up by Marc Middleton of Lordsofpain.net, says:
Ric is doing well, he feels great, and is home. WWE’s medical staff performed a physical on Ric yesterday, like they do all of their athletes, and recommended that he have a doctor take a closer look at his swollen leg. Upon arriving back in Charlotte today he went to see his doctors and it was determined that there is a blood clot. He was not admitted to the hospital, rather released with medication, which the doctors are confident will work quickly causing Ric to completely heal soon. Ric appreciates everyone’s concern and is looking forward to seeing fans at his next scheduled appearance in Hagerstown, MD on Friday and performing for WWE very soon.
That he was suffering from another blood clot should not come as news to those who have been following Flair in recent months. Back in January, he was scheduled to wrestle for All Japan Pro Wrestling, but was kept from the ring because of a blood clot.
The statement gives an upbeat and positive spin on Flair's health. Jim Ross did the same when he wrote about Flair in his blog, saying:
Got a text from Ric Flair early this morning and Naitch is feeling great and has been provided medication to dissolve the blood clot that is in his leg. The doctor's are highly optimistic that the meds will do the trick and eliminate a potentially, dangerous issue. Ric and I will get together Wednesday evening in Jersey to catch up which is one of our WrestleMania traditions.
The key phrase from Ross' blog is "potentially, dangerous issue." A blood clot in the leg can easily be deep vein thrombosis. This is when the clot reaches one of the major arteries in the leg. From there, it can block blood flow to the heart or break off and travel to the lungs, resulting in death.
It should be noted WebMD says people who suffer from one blood clot are likely to have more.
What makes the situation worrisome is that Flair has never been able to separate Flair the wrestler from the real-life Richard Fliehr. He rode in the limousines, had the women, spent more money than he made and drank in excess.
It was this excessive drinking outside the ring that helped him to develop alcoholic cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle due to alcohol abuse. This can also lead to swelling of the leg and blood clots.
One only has to look at Flair's recent appearances to see that the Nature Boy isn't at his best. He looks much older than his 64 years. His inability to separate himself from the rigors of the ring and the fantasy world of his character may well put him in an early grave.
People may be putting on a brave face, but the former world champion could be in worse shape than thought. Hopefully, Flair's latest health scare with get through to the legend and remind him of his own mortality.