Concussions have come to the forefront as one of the major concerns in contact sports and the WWE and NFL are leading candidates for these dangers.
Long-term health concerns stemming from concussions include, but are not limited to, brain damage, dementia and even Alzheimer's. Concussions were once categorized as an afterthought in the WWE, where superstars simply "shook it off" and continued to solider through.
Over the past decade, the WWE—still notorious for the toughness of its independent contractors—has become kinder and gentler. Along with switching to a TV-PG content, the promotion has become more proactive in handing concussions both in front of and behind the camera.
Last week's Raw concluded with a Triple H being mock-treated for symptoms of a concussion in what may end up ballooning into a full-blown concussion storyline that ends in Triple H's retirement (for now).
The angle, while superfluous, sends the right message of the WWE's continued concern for concussions.
This concern was also evidenced behind the scenes when the WWE made the decision to hold Dolph Ziggler out of their Extreme Rules pay-per-view due to a concussion he suffered at a SmackDown taping.
Ziggler was put through a rigorous series of impact tests per WWE policy and deemed unsuitable to compete.
The WWE took its concern for this athletic epidemic one step further by teaming up with former WWE superstar Chris Nowinski—who has not always had the smoothest relationship with WWE—and his Sports Legacy Institute to further research on brain trauma. WWE has agreed to donate $1.2 million over three years to the organization.
The move is banned by the WWE; however, Orton was able to use it in his hometown on a special occasion.
WWE has laid the groundwork for being an industry leader in the field of sports when it comes to researching, dealing with and handling concussions among athletes. The admirable foray should be considered strongly when the long-standing discussion of whether or not wrestling is fake rears its unnecessary head.
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