WHY IS LINDA MCMAHON KEEPING DISTANCE FROM LEGISLATION ON CONCUSSIONS IN HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS?

Because As WWE CEO, She Repeatedly Rejected The Science Motivating This Legislation, Even Though Its Has Been Performed On Her Deceased Performers 

(MYSTIC) – Raj Shah, Communications Director for Simmons for Senate, made the following statement in reaction to a report indicating that though she is a member of the State Board of Education that will oversee new legislation attempting to deal with concussions in high school sports, Linda McMahon refuses to attend the hearing or take a position on the legislation. As CEO of WWE, Linda McMahon has led the company’s systematic efforts to deny the science leading to this legislation and mislead the media about the WWE’s positions and efforts on this issue. This is just the latest example of how her total lack of regard for the health and welfare of her own workers makes her untrustworthy to look after the welfare of Connecticut residents:

“Unfortunately for her workers, in her role as WWE CEO Linda McMahon spent years denying the scientific research that proves repeated undiagnosed concussions among WWE performers presents a potentially deadly risk, all in order to make an extra buck. Now, based on that same science, the Connecticut legislature is considering a bill to protect student athletes from these dangers.

“As a member of the state Board of Education, McMahon would be charged with enforcing provisions of this legislation. McMahon should not be trusted with the health and welfare of Connecticut’s schoolchildren when she is so flagrantly dismissive of the health and welfare of her own workers. Unless McMahon admits that she was wrong to deny the veracity of this scientific research, and until WWE makes sufficient changes to provide for a transparent, independent and effective concussion policy of its own, she should not be allowed to play any role in enforcing this legislation.”

FACTS

Tomorrow, The State Education Committee Will Hold A Hearing On Legislation To Deal With Head Injuries In High School Sports. “On Wednesday afternoon, the legislature’s Education Committee will hold a public hearing on an important bill that aims to address the problem of head injuries in scholastic sports. Essentially, the bill that would require coaches to complete an annual training course on recognizing concussions. It would also require any student who suffers a concussion to get cleared by a doctor before resuming athletic activity.” (Daniela, “Student Athletes, Head Injuries And The WWE,” The Hartford Courant’s “Capitol Watch” Blog, 3/16/10)

The Chairman Of The Senate Education Committee Welcomed Mrs. McMahon To Participate In The Hearing. “State Sen. Tom Gaffey, a Meriden Democrat who co-chairs the committee and is the bill’s leading advocate, said he would welcome McMahon’s input on such an important topic. Perhaps the WWE’s experience in handling head injuries could provide some help to lawmakers as they weigh how to best protect Connecticut’s student athletes.” (Daniela, “Student Athletes, Head Injuries And The WWE,” The Hartford Courant’s “Capitol Watch” Blog, 3/16/10)

Gaffney: “Certainly she’s a member of the state Board of Education and she operate[d] a huge entertainment conglomerate where presumably the participants in that entertainment venue can suffer serious concussions from time to time. … I would welcome her opinions…I would think as a member of the state board of education that she would have an opinion as regards to the protection of student athletes. I would hope she would have opinion.” (Daniela, “Student Athletes, Head Injuries And The WWE,” The Hartford Courant’s “Capitol Watch” Blog, 3/16/10)

Her Excuse For Not Taking A Position Is That She Hasn’t Seen The Bill. McMahon Campaign: “She cannot say specifically what her position is on this until she first has a chance to look at the bill and preferably read it.” (Daniela, “Student Athletes, Head Injuries And The WWE,” The Hartford Courant’s “Capitol Watch” Blog 3/16/10)

Linda McMahon And WWE Have Rejected The Science Linking Head Injuries To Long Term Brain Trauma Conducted On Her Own Former Performers Underpinning The Legislation

Dr. Bennet Omalu, Co-Director Of The Brain Research Institute Said Deceased WWE Wrestlers Andrew “Test” Martin And Chris Benoit Suffered From Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), From Repeated Blows To The Head. “Dr. Bennet Omalu, co-director of the Brain Injury Research Institute, told ESPN.com on Monday that Martin suffered from brain damage — a syndrome he has defined as chronic traumatic encephalopathy — stemming from repeated blows to the head. Martin is the second former wrestler to be linked to CTE; Benoit was the first.” (Greg Garber, “Doctors: Wrestler Had Brain Damage,”12/8/09)

Omalu Has Seen The Same Conditions In 20 Athletes, Among Them Boxers Who Suffer Repeated Head Blows. “Omalu said he conducted an analysis of Martin’s brain tissues back in April and discovered excessive amounts of tau proteins similar to those he found in Benoit — and now a rising total of 20 dead athletes. This same chemical imbalance is found in a number of former boxers and known as dementia pugilistica or punch-drunk syndrome. The brains of Benoit and Martin, Omalu said, resembled those of Alzheimer’s patients more than twice their age.” (Greg Garber, “Doctors: Wrestler Had Brain Damage,” 12/8/09)

Omalu: “After repeated blows to the head, at some point the brain loses the ability to heal itself. … The tau impairs normal brain function and kills brain cells. The delicate balance of the neurotransmitters, which control moods and drives and maintains satiety, can be destroyed.” (Greg Garber, “Doctors: Wrestler Had Brain Damage,” 12/8/09)

WWE Statement: “While this is a new emerging science, the WWE is unaware of the veracity of any of these tests, be it for Chris Benoit or Andrew Martin. Dr. Omalu claims that Mr. Benoit had a brain that resembled an 85-year-old with Alzheimer’s, which would lead one to ponder how Mr. Benoit would have found his way to an airport, let alone been able to remember all the moves and information that is required to perform in the ring.” (Greg Garber, “Doctors: Wrestler Had Brain Damage,” 12/8/09)

Linda McMahon: “These Studies Have Not Been Proven, If You Will.” CNN’s DREW GRIFFIN: “There is a lot of information coming out on the research that was done on Chris [Benoit]‘s brain. … [W]e had our own neurologist on staff, CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he looked at the slides, and he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He couldn’t believe the damage mirrored an 85-year-old man who had either Alzheimer’s, or dementia, or something like that.” LINDA MCMAHON: “These studies have not been proven, if you will.” (“McMahons: WWE Not To Blame For Benoit’s Actions,” www.cnn.com, 11/7/07)

 

McMahon Compares WWE’s Concussion Policy To That Of The NFL, Even Though The NFL Has Overhauled Its Policy As A Result Of This New Science

Linda McMahon Compares WWE’s Concussion Policy To That Of The NFL. “WWE has one of the most comprehensive health and wellness policies that is in place which goes to safety issues … impact testing for concussions that is the same program that is utilized by the NFL.” (Talk 104.7 WXLM’s, “The Lee Elci Morning Show,” 1/14/10)

The NFL Has Accepted This Research And As A Result, Overhauled Its Concussion Policy. “Last week [NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell] sent a memo to all 32 teams outlining a stricter concussion protocol. Players who suffer a concussion and display certain signs and symptoms should not return to a game, he wrote; previously, the standard was losing consciousness. Additionally, teams were required to consult with independent neurologists, rather than relying solely on their own doctors in assessing concussion cases.” (Greg Garber, “Doctors: Wrestler Had Brain Damage,” 12/9/09)

WWE Falsely Claimed It Had Not Been Given An Opportunity To See These Findings

WWE Said It “Has Been Asking To See The Research And Tests Results In The Case Of Mr. Benoit For Years And Has Not Been Supplied With Them.” “WWE has been asking to see the research and tests results in the case of Mr. Benoit for years and has not been supplied with them.” (Greg Garber, “Doctors: Wrestler Had Brain Damage,” 12/8/09)

WWE Physician Dr. Maroon Met With Omalu At The Brain Injury Research Institute In October 2008.“On October 1, 2008, Dr. Maroon visited the Brain Injury Research Institute in Morgantown, West Virginia. The institute is co-directed by Dr. Julian Bailes, chair of the neurosurgery department at West Virginia University, and Dr. Omalu, a medical professor and coroner now based in California. Also present at the meeting were the brain institute’s general counsel, Bob Fitzsimmons, and Peter Davies, a professor of pathology and neuroscience at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.” (Irvin Muchnick, “Exclusive: Linda McMahon’s WWE Medical Director Met With Chris Benoit Brain Experts In 2008,” 12/14/09)

Omalu: “Dr. Maroon Was There With Us And He Was Shown All Our Research Information, Slides, And Specimens – On Chris Benoit And All The Athletes’ Brains We Studied.” “On the phone with me this morning, Omalu was hopping mad about the WWE statement to ESPN. ‘Dr. Maroon was there with us and he was shown all our research information, slides, and specimens – on Chris Benoit and all the athletes’ brains we studied,’ Omalu said.” (Irvin Muchnick, “Exclusive: Linda McMahon’s WWE Medical Director Met With Chris Benoit Brain Experts In 2008,”12/14/09)

Though WWE Claims Chair Shot To The Head Are No Longer Allowed, The WWE’s 2009 Tables, Ladders And Chairs Match Shows The Company Still Allows Brutal Blows To The Head

WWE Website: “The WWE has eliminated using folding metal chairs to ‘strike’ an opponent in the head.” (WWE, corporate.wwe.com, Accessed 3/16/10)

Watch Highlights Of WWE’s 2009 Tables, Ladders And Chairs Event Showing Brutal Chair Shots To The Head

And Like The Rest Of WWE’s So-Called “Wellness Policy,” Any And All WWE Efforts To Mitigate Head Trauma Lack Transparency And Independence, Allowing The Company To Mislead The Public

Congress’s Investigation Found That WWE Steroid Testing Policies “Suffer From A Lack Of Independence And Transparency.” “Since the Committee began its investigation last year, both the WWE and the TNA have made efforts to improve their steroid testing programs. But these efforts suffer from a lack of independence and transparency. As a result of these weaknesses, the organizations appear unable to effectively prevent the use of steroids and other illegal drugs by professional wrestlers.” (Chairman Henry Waxman, Committee On Oversight And Government Reform, Letter To The Office Of National Drug Control Policy, 1/2/09)

Pro Wrestling Torch’s James Caldwell: “Bottom Line Is The Wellness Policy Lacks Transparency. Their Policy Is Words On A Piece Of Paper Unless They Disclose The Application Of The Policy…” “Caldwell’s Analysis: Bottom line is the Wellness Policy lacks transparency. Their policy is words on a piece of paper unless they disclose the application of the policy, which I wrote about several weeks. WWE has no statistics on their website identifying the application of their Head Tramua/Concussion testing policy, for example. Meanwhile, wrestlers associated with WWE at one time have continued to die at an alarming rate. Zimmerman brought up the NFL and NHL, which have off-seasons and guaranteed time off to heal mentally and physically. That’s one key difference between the sports. Where’s the transparency from WWE on why they don’t have mandatory off-seasons for all talent built into their Wellness Policy?” (James Caldwell, “WWE News: Linda McMahon’s Senate Opponent Counting Down Lack Of Answers, WWE Responds To Steroid Story,” pwtorch.com, 3/5/10)

The Lack Of Transparency Has Allowed The Company To Repeatedly Mislead The Public And Media About Its Wellness Policy

Days After The Benoit Murder-Suicide, When Asked About WWE’s Steroid Use, Linda McMahon Stated “We Have Always Had, You Know, A Drug Policy Since The Late ’80s.” “ABC NEWS’ ROBIN ROBERTS: “I’m sure that you’re aware of what some people have said about the profession of wrestling and even some of those have been inside, like the ex-wife of Stone Cold Steve Austin, his wife who said that she was abused by him, talks about the, the prevalence of – steroid use with wrestling, some people saying as high as 75% of the wrestlers. Are you aware, and what, what is the WWE doing?” MCMAHON: “Well, I can only speak for the WWE in terms of our, you know, in our profession. And we have always had, you know, a drug policy since the late ’80s.” (ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” 6/28/07)

  • In Fact, The Congressional Investigation Found WWE’s Steroid Testing Was Suspended From When 1996 Until 2006, One Year Prior To the Statement. “According to documents provided to the Committee, the WWE had a steroids testing program in the 1990s that was eliminated in 1996, On October 25, 1996, the WWE’s Chairman and CEO, Vince McMahon, issued a memo explaining his decision. The memo stated: ‘the incidence of illegal and performance enhancing drugs is so slight that group testing is no longer cost effective or necessary.’ In March 2006, Mr. McMahon reinstituted the steroids testing program after press reports suggested that the death of popular V/WE wrestler Eddie Guerrero four months earlier was linked to steroid abuse.” (Chairman Henry Waxman, Committee On Oversight And Government Reform, Letter To The Office Of National Drug Control Policy, 1/2/09)

In Wake Of News That During His Autopsy, Chris Benoit Tested Positive For Testosterone Use, WWE Issued A Misleading Statement Implying That Based On Its Testing, Benoit Had Only Begun Taking Testosterone In The Previous Few Months Without The Company’s Knowledge. “WWE understands that the toxicology reports for Chris Benoit indicate that he tested positive for testosterone and negative for anabolic steroids. On Mr. Benoit’s last drug test in April 2007 administered by Aegis Labs, he tested negative for anabolic steroids and for testosterone. Given the toxicology report of GBI released today, it would appear that Mr. Benoit took testosterone sometime after his April 2007 test and the time he died. WWE understands that his dealings with Dr. Astin are currently being investigated, and WWE has no knowledge of whether Dr. Astin prescribed testosterone for Mr. Benoit at some point after the April 2007 tests.” (WWE, “World Wrestling Entertainment Issue Statement,” Press Release, 7/17/07)

  • In Fact Of His Four Total Tests, In Three He Tested Positive For Testosterone And There Was “No Evidence Indicating That Efforts Were Made By WWE To Discourage His Steroid Use.” “As part of the Committee’s inquiry, the Committee sought information about any steroid testing involving Chris Benoit, the wrestler who killed himself and his wife and son in June 2007. WWE officials informed the Committee that Mr. Benoit was tested four times under the WWE program, He tested positive three times. He received no suspensions or other penalties as a result of these positive tests, and the Committee obtained no evidence indicating that efforts were made by WWE to discourage his steroid use.” (Chairman Henry Waxman, Committee On Oversight And Government Reform, Letter To The Office Of National Drug Control Policy, 1/2/09)

On March 19, 2007, Sports Illustrated Told WWE Of Documents From A Federal Investigation Implicating Several WWE Wrestlers Of Using Human Growth Hormone (HGH) And Anabolic Steroids. “According to the documents two prominent wrestlers, Adam Copeland, a.k.a. Edge, and Shane Helms, a.k.a. The Hurricane, received HGH. (Through the WWE, Copeland and Helms didn’t respond to a request for comment.) But virtually all the others allegedly received a wide variety of anabolic steroids. In each case these were supplied by Applied, the Mobile, Ala., compounding pharmacy that was raided last fall. … Wilbirt also allegedly issued prescriptions for the steroids nandrolone and stanozolol to Oscar Gutierrez, whose stage name is Rey Mysterio. (Through the WWE, Gutierrez declined comment.) … Consider Randy Orton, who allegedly received eight prescriptions for six different drugs — stanozolol, nandrolone, anastrozole, Clomiphene citrate, oxandrolone and testosterone — between March 2004 and August 2004. (Through the WWE, Orton declined comment.)” (Luis Fernando Llosa and L. Jon Wertheim, “Wrestlers Allegedly Tied To Drug Ring,” Sports Illustrated, 3/19/07)

WWE Told Sports Illustrated That Drug Use Was Not Permitted, But That It Could Not Reveal And Disciplinary Actions The Company Took Due To Privacy Concerns. SI.COM: “Does the WWE have a drug policy?” LLOSA/WERTHEIM: “Gary Davis, a WWE spokesman, pointed us to a Talent Wellness Program instituted in February 2006. As to whether anabolic steroids and HGH are banned, Davis sent us an email quoting the policy: ‘The WWE policy prohibits the use of performance-enhancing drugs, as well as other prescription drugs which can be abused, if taken for other than a legitimate medical purpose pursuant to a valid prescription from a licensed and treating physician. For purposes of WWE’s policy, prescriptions obtained over the Internet and/or from suppliers of prescription drugs from the Internet are not considered to have been given for a legitimate medical purpose.’ Citing privacy issues, Davis declined to say whether WWE wrestlers have tested positive for banned substances since the policy was implemented.” (Luis Fernando Llosa and L. Jon Wertheim, “Wrestlers Allegedly Tied To Drug Ring,” Sports Illustrated, 3/19/07)

  • Five Months Later, We Learned The WWE Took No Disciplinary Action Until It Was Under Congressional Investigation. (T.J. Quinn, “Top WWE Names Emerge In Doping Scandal,” New York Daily News, 8/30/07)

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