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Brain Injuries In the Spotlight Again as Former WWE Wrestlers File Lawsuit

Yesterday, CNN reported that Evan Singleton and Vito LoGrasso, two former World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers, have filed a lawsuit against their former employer, asserting the organization knowingly subjected them to the dangers of potential brain damage from concussions and repeated blows to the head.  The suit was filed January 16th, and seeks damages to be determined at trial and medical monitoring.

Vito LoGrasso, who wrestled with the WWE from 1991 to 1998 and again from 2005 to 2007, under the stage name “Big Vito”, alleged he suffers from severe headaches, memory loss, depression, anxiety and deafness.  Singleton, who wrestled with the WWE from 2012 to 2013, claims to suffer from tremors, convulsions, migraines, memory loss and impaired ability to reason.

Last October, former WWE wrestler William Albert Haynes III, who wrestled under the moniker Billy Jack Haynes, filed a similar brain injury lawsuit in Oregon. The WWE issued a statement that in their view, the lawsuit was without merit. The WWE has until January 30th to respond to the Haynes lawsuit.

Jerry McDevitt, a lawyer for the WWE, stated “WWE has never concealed any medical information related to concussions, or otherwise, from our talent. We will vigorously contest this lawsuit.”

The WWE organization reported revenue of $508 million in 2013.

Last July, a federal judge granted preliminary approval to an $870 million payout to more than 4,500 former NFL players. The original settlement incluced $675 million for compensatory claims for players with neurological symptoms, $75 million for baseline testing, and $10 million for medical research and education.  That settlement is designed to last at least 65 years and cover retirees who develop Lou Gehrig’s disease and other neurological problems.