According to The Boston Globe, it appears former WWE star and Concussion Legacy Foundation creator Chris Nowinski could be caught in the middle of current concussion litigation brought about against WWE by former talents Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton.
Back in 2007, after Chris Benoit strangled his wife, choked to death his 7-year-old son, and hanged himself, Nowinski penned the following in his book “Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis.”
“I was certain Benoit had suffered from CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy].”
Following this statement, Nowinski and his then partner Dr. Bennet Omalu obtained Benoit’s brain for research, and Omalu diagnosed Benoit with severe CTE.
The Globe report notes 9 years later, the findings of both Nowinski and Omalu could pose a big dilemma for Nowinski, as WWE is a multi-million dollar sponsor of Concussion Legacy Foundation. And as WWE continues to battle a concussion lawsuit in part by challenging Omalu’s diagnosis of Benoit, Nowinski might have a major question to answer: does he support WWE or the findings of his ex-partner Omalu, with whom Nowinski is no longer in business?
WWE has since subpoenaed Omalu, who now serves as the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County and was portrayed by actor Will Smith in the 2015 movie “Concussion.”
The Globe asked Nowinski if he stands by Omalu’s diagnosis of Chris Benoit, and Nowinski offered the following statement:
“I am not a neuropathologist and I relied on Dr. Omalu’s statement that the brain met his criteria for a CTE diagnosis. I had no reason to question the diagnosis.”
Nowinski admitted in his book, however, that he “later found out [Omalu] was working on cases in his garage, publicly claiming to speak to the ghosts of those he studied.’’ Omalu has described Nowinski’s comment about his garage and ghosts as “an attempt to ridicule me.’’
In recent months, Concussion Legacy Foundation has come under fire by several former pro wrestlers, who have criticized the foundation for not procuring the brains of deceased pro wrestlers for research since WWE began donating money to the foundation and named Paul “Triple H” Levesque to its Board of Directors.
While a judge did dismiss several elements of the complaint filed by LoGrasso and Singleton, the wrestlers were allowed to pursue a claim that WWE fraudulently failed to warn them they could suffer head injuries on the job that could cause permanent brain damage.
Attorneys for LoGrasso and Singleton have subpoenaed Nowinski, however a judge granted requests from both Nowinski and WWE to have Nowinski’s testimony blocked.