Sunday, May 29, 2011

Brock Lesnar sidelined. What is diverticulitis?

     Diverticular disease is a common condition of the colon.  A diverticulum (pleural is diverticula) is essentially a pocket-like protrusion of the colon wall.   Diverticulosis refers to the presence of diverticula.  Diverticulitis refers to an inflammation of diverticula.

     Diverticular disease increases in prevalence with aging.  It is present in 5% of individuals age 40, and up to 65% of individuals by age 85.  It occurs equally in males and females.  The majority of diverticula occur in the part of the bowel called the sigmoid colon.

     It is believed that dietary and lifestyle triggers may play a role in the development of diverticulosis.  A diet low in fiber, physical inactivity, and obesity have been identified in some medical studies as important predisposing conditions.  While the majority of people with diverticulosis never have symptoms, 15 to 25 percent will develop diverticulitis and 5 to 15 percent can have bleeding problems.

     Diverticulitis occurs when the wall of a diverticulum ruptures and causes an inflammatory reaction. A person can experience a number of symptoms depending on how severe the reaction is.  The most common symptom is abdominal pain.  Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever and change in bowel pattern.

     Complicated diverticulitis occurs with a perforation that leads to local infection (abscess) or wide spread infection in the abdominal cavity (peritonitis).  Treatment typically requires antibiotics and surgery.

     Uncomplicated diverticulitis, which occurs in the majority of cases, can respond to more conservative treatment such as antibiotics and bowel rest.  About one-third of individuals will eventually have a second attack.  These people will usually benefit from surgery to prevent future episodes.

Brock Lesnar
     On October 26, 2009 it was announced that Brock Lesnar would not be fighting at UFC 106 due to illness.  It was subsequently learned Lesnar had been diagnosed with diverticulitis.  H was not able to return to fighting until July 3, 2010 at UFC 116.

     On May 12, 2011 it was announced Lesnar was again suffering from diverticulits and would not be fighting at UFC 131.   On May 27, 2011 Lesnar underwent surgery and had 12 inches of his colon removed,

      In addition to Lesnar, both Jim Ross and Vince McMahon have been treated for diverticulitis.

The medical resource was used in the preparation of this blog.

Photographs are for illustrative purposes only, Wrestling with Death does not claim ownership.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

American professional wrestling deaths


To come up with a definitive list of deceased American professional wrestlers that everyone will agree with is virtually impossible.  American professional wrestling is a unique business, belonging neither to the sports or entertainment world.  It does not have a well recorded history.  There is no single entity that oversees the industry or official database that keeps track of participants or any vital statistics. 


Professional wrestling:  An activity in which participants struggle hand-in-hand primarily for the purpose of providing entertainment to spectators rather than conducting a bona fide athletic contest. (1)

American professional wrestler:  The individual who engages in United States of America professional wrestling. The definition is broadened to include other individuals within the industry such as promoters, announcers, trainers, referees, managers, and valets.

National era of professional wrestling:  June 6, 1982 to March 23, 2001.

The beginning of the National Era of American professional wrestling can be traced to June 6, 1982.  This is the date Vincent K. McMahon bought Capitol Wrestling, the parent company of what is now known as WWE.  Within months McMahon started his national expansion by acquiring talent from other organizations, airing his shows in new markets, securing time on cable television and venturing into pay-per-view programming. The era was also characterized by the end of the old territorial system.  While several promoters tried to be successful on a national level, by 2001 only the WWE had survived.

Modern era of professional wrestling:  March 24, 2001 to present.

By the end of the last century the only remaining American professional wrestling companies from the National era were WWE and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).  Coming off the success of Wrestlemania XIV, on March 29, 1998, WWE Raw surpassed WCW Monday Night Nitro for the first time in the cable television ratings on April 13, 1998.   WCW never recovered and was eventually sold to Vince McMahon on March 23, 2001.

Professional wrestling National Era major promotions: 

(1)  American Wrestling Association (Verne Gagne):  June 6, 1982 to early 1991.

(2)  Extreme Championship Wrestling (Todd Gorden/Paul Heyman):  August 8, 1994 to April 4, 2001.

(3)  Global Wrestling Federation (Max Andrews/Joe Pedicino/Grey Pierson):  June 1991 to September, 1996.

(4)  National Wrestling Alliance members within the United States: June 6, 1982 to September 1, 1993.

  • By the early 1980's most of the territories were no longer viable.  Jim Crockett Promotions emerged as the most likely contender at the national level.  The promotion absorbed several other territories including Championship Wrestling from Georgia (April 6, 1985), St. Louis Wrestling Club (1985), Bob Geigel's Heart of American Sports Attractions, Inc. (from September 1986 to February, 1987), Championship Wrestling from Florida (February, 1987), and Bill Watt's Universal Wrestling Federation (April 9, 1987) before being bought by Ted Turner on February 2, 1988.
  • Although the National Wrestling Alliance is still in existence today, the symbolic end to the organization occurred on September 1, 1993 when Jim Crockett, Jr.  pulled out. 
  • World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) is included in this category.  WCCW withdrew its membership from the Alliance on February 20, 1986.  It integrated with Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) to form the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) on December 13, 1988.

(5)  United States Wrestling Association (Kevin Von Erich/Jerry Jarrett):  December 13, 1988 to November, 1997.

(6)  Universal Wrestling Federation (Herb Abrams):  October, 1990 to 1994.

(7)  Universal Wrestling Federation (Bill Watts):  March, 1986 to April 9, 1987.

(8)  World Championship Wrestling:  February 2, 1988 to March 23, 2001.

(9)  WWE:  June 6, 1982 to March 23, 2001.

  • During the National Era WWE absorbed several other promotions including Georgia Championship wrestling (April 19, 1984), Maple Leaf Wrestling (July 22, 1984), Stampede Wrestling (August 24, 1984), Houston Wrestling (August, 1987), World Championship Wrestling (March 23, 2001), and eventually the assets of Extreme Championship Wrestling.

Professional wrestling Modern Era major promotions:

(1)  Total Nonstop Action Wrestling:  June 19, 2002 to present.

(2)  WWE:  March 24, 2001 to present. 
  • This includes the following affiliated/developmental promotions:  Heartland Wrestling Association (1998 to 2005), Memphis Championship Wrestling (February 20, 2000 to June 2001), Ohio Valley Wrestling (2000 to February 7, 2008), Deep South Wrestling (January 1, 2005 to February 18, 2007), and Florida Championship Wrestling (February 15, 2008 to present). 

(3)  Ring of Honor: February 23, 2002 to present.

Inclusion criteria:
(1)  The deceased was an American professional wrestler.

  • The individual did not have to achieve main event status, as preliminary, enhancement, and WWE developmental talent are also eligible for inclusion.

(2)  To be classified in the National Era, the professional wrestler must have spent the majority of his/her career working in this time period.

  • If the professional wrestler spent the majority of his/her career in the National Era , but sporadically worked into the Modern Era, or worked mostly for non-major promotions in the Modern Era, he/she would be classified into the National Era.

(3)  To be classified in the Modern Era, the professional wrestler most have spent the majority of his/her career working in this period.

  • If the professional wrestler spent the majority of his/her career in the National Era, but was actively working into the Modern Era with a major promotion at the time of death, he/she would be classified into the Modern Era.

(3)  The professional wrestler was age 55 or younger at the time of his/her death.

Exclusion criteria:

(1)  Any individual who does not meet the definition of an American professional wrestler.

 (2)  International professional wrestlers.  An international professional wrestler is  defined as a professional wrestler who spent the majority of his/her career in an organization geographically located outside the United States of America.  An international professional wrestler may have worked in one or more of professional wrestling's major leagues during his/her career.  Also included under this definition are international promoters, announcers, trainers, referees, managers, and valets

(4)  Wrestlers who died while training in a wrestling school.

(5)  A professional wrestler who spent the majority of his/her career working for any  regional/independent company not listed as a major promotion.


  1. Kerr, P. (February 10, 1989).  Now it can be told: those pro wrestlers are just having fun.  New York Times.

 National Era

  • David Adkisson (David Von Erich)  2/10/84.
  • Edward Gossett ( Eddie Graham)  1/25/85.
  • Steve Romero (Jay Youngblood)  9/2/85.
  • Rick McGraw  11/1/85.
  • Charles Wolfe (Gino Hernandez)  2/2/86.
  • Mike Adkisson (Mike Von Erich)  4/12/87.
  • Scott Irwin   9/1/87.
  • Keith Franke (Adrian Adonis)  7/4/88.
  • Frank Goodish (Bruiser Brody)  7/16/88.
  • Roland Daniels (LeRoy Brown/Elijah Akeen)  9/6/88. 
  • Ed Gantner  12/31/90.
  • Chris Adkisson (Chris Von Erich)  9/12/91. 
  • Ralph Pulley  1/6/92.
  • Bruce Woyan (Buzz Sawyer)  2/7/92.
  • Stan Frazier (Uncle Elmer)  6/30/92.
  • Andre Roussimoff (Andre the Giant)  1/27/93.
  • Kerry Adkisson (Kerry Von Erich)  2/18/93.
  • Adolfo Bresciano (Dino Bravo)  3/11/93.
  • David Peterson  (DJ Peterson)  5/25/93.
  • Ray Canty (Ray Candy)  5/15/94.
  • Art Barr  11/23/94.
  • Jerry Blackwell  1/22/95.
  • John Minton (Big John Studd)  3/20/95.
  • Hoyt Murdoch (Dick Murdoch)  6/15/96.
  • Robert Swenson Jr. (Jeep Swenson)  8/18/97.
  • Brian Hildebrand (Mark Curtis)  9/18/93.
  • Joey Marella  7/4/94.
  • Herb Abrams  7/23/96.
  • Brian Pillman  10/5/97.
  • Louis Mucciolo Jr.  (Louie Spicolli)  2/15/98.
  • Sylvester Ritter (Junk Yard Dog)  6/1/98.
  • Dean Peters (Brady Boone)  12/15/98.
  • Richard Williams (Renegade)  2/23/99.
  • Richard Rood (Rick Rude)  4/20/99.
  • Owen Hart  5/23/99.
  • Mitch Snow  "2000".
  • Bobby Duncum, Jr.  1/24/00.
  • Rodney Anoai (Yokozuna)  10/23/00.
  • Terry Gordy  7/16/01.
  • Rhonda Singh (Bertha Faye)  7/27/01.
  • Chris Adams  10/7/01.
  • Mike Davis 12/25/01.
  • Jeff Raitz  2/9/02.
  • Dave DiMeglio (Dino Casanova)  3/1/02.
  • Troy Thompson, Jr. (The Dream Machine)  3/7/02.
  • Randy Anderson  5/5/02.
  • Alex Rizzo (Big Dick Dudley)  5/16/02.
  • David Smith (Davey Boy Smith)  5/18/02.
  • Ted Petty ( Flyboy Rocco Rock) 9/21/02.
  • Gary Mize (Billy Travis)  11/22/02.
  • Curt Hennig  2/10/03.
  • Elizabeth Hulette ( Miss Elizabeth)  5/1/03.
  • Anthony Durante (Pit Bull #2)  9/25/03.
  • Michael Hegstrand (Road Warrior Hawk)  10/19/03.
  • Larry Booker (Moondog Spot)  11/29/03.
  • Jerry Tuite (The Wall)  12/6/03.
  • Michael Lozanski  12/18/03.
  • Raymond Fernandez (Hercules Hernandez)  3/6/04.
  • Ken Timbs  8/1/04.
  • Ray Traylor (Big Bossman)  9/22/04.
  • Marianna Komlor (Mrs. Cleavage)  9/26/04.
  • Pez Whatley  1/18/05.
  • Emory Hail (Emory Hale)  1/28/06.
  • Michael Durham (Johnny Grunge)  2/16/06.
  • John Tenta (Earthquake)  6/7/06.
  • Joseph Magliano (Joey Maggs)  10/15/06.
  • Scott Bigelow (Bam Bam Bigelow)  1/19/07.
  • Michael Alfonso (Mike Awesome)  2/17/07.
  • Sherri Schroll (Sherri Martel)  6/15/07.
  • Nancy Benoit ( Woman)  6/22/07.
  • George Caiazzo (John Kronus)  7/18/07.
  • Brian Adams (Crush)  8/13/07.
  • Dave Sheldon (Angel of Death)  11/25/07.
  • Randy Barber 1/1/08.
  • Chase Tatum  3/23/08.
  • Michael Bell 12/14/08.
  • Lanny Kean, Jr. (Cousin, Jr./Moondog Cujo)  1/13/09.
  • Steve Doll (Steven Dunn)  5/22/09.
  • Steve Williams  12/29/09.
  • Tony Halme (Ludvig Borga)  1/8/10.
  • Tom Burton 3/29/10.
  • Toni Dunahoo (Toni Adams)  6/24/10.
  • Mike Shaw (Norman the Lunatic/Bastion Booger)  9/4/10.
  • Jorge Gonzalez (Giant Gonzalez)  9/22/10.
  • Gertrude Hurd-Nash (Luna Vachon)  8/27/10.
  • Bobby Baker  11/25/11.
  • Valentino Puccio (Big Val)  1/7/11.
  • Doug Furnas  3/2/12.
  • Brad Armstrong  11/1/12.
  • Dwain McCullough (Awesome Kong)  11/17/12.
  • James Jefferson (Spike of the Mod Squad)  2/8/13.
  • Al Green  6/3/13.
  • Matt Borne  6/28/13.
  • Corey Maclin  7/3013.
  • Gene Petit (Cousin Luke)  9/24/13.
  • Nelson Frazier, Jr. (Mabel) 2/18/14.

Modern Era

  • Thomas Haas (Russ Haas)  12/15/01.
  • Robert Dicks (Slick Robbie D)  2/18/02.
  • Mike Lockwood (Crash Holly)  11/6/03.
  • Chris Candido  4/28/05.
  • Eddie Guerrero  11/13/05.
  • Chris Benoit  6/25/07.
  • Andrew Martin (Test)  3/13/09.
  • Eddie Fatu (Umanga)  12/4/09.
  • Chris Klucsaritis (Kanyon)  4/2/10.
  • Michael Verdi (Trent Acid) 6/18/10.
  • Lance McNaught  (Lance Cade)  8/13/10.
  • Shawn McGrath (Shawn Osborne)  1/26/11.
  • Alexander Whybrow (Larry Sweeney) 4/11/11. 
  • Mark Smith  (Bison Smith)  11/22/11.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Traumatic brain injury and American professional wrestling

     Traumatic brain injury can occur with a head injury due to acceleration/deceleration forces and/or direct contact.  The term concussion is often used as a synonym.

     According to the Center for Disease Control, every year in the United States there are approximately 1.4 million reported incidents of traumatic brain injury. (1)  Such injuries are common in contact sports. such as football, hockey and boxing.  It has been estimated that 10 percent of college football players sustain such an injury each year. (2)

     Very little in known about the incidence of traumatic head injuries in professional wrestlers.  A review of the available medical literature revealed only one published study which was conducted by Nomoto et al. from the Omori Medical Center in Japan.  Medical examinations for head trauma were performed on 18 female wrestlers belonging to a Japanese wrestling organization.  The Women were ages 15 to 34.  Chronic symptoms were present in four wrestlers.  (3)

     The symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury include confusion, amnesia, headache, dizziness, nausea, and lack of awareness of surroundings.  Loss of consciousness does not always occur.

     For most cases of mild traumatic brain injury the likelihood of a complete recovery is good. There are however a number of well recognized complications.  Postconcussion syndrome results in symptoms such as headache, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, cognitive changes, and dizziness.  Symptoms usually resolve within a few months.  Post-traumatic headaches typically develop within days to months after the injury.  Symptoms can resemble tension and migraine headaches.

Chris Benoit
     There are data that repeated brain trauma can lead to chronic intellectual, cognitive, and psychiatric changes.  This type of injury has been termed chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  It has been speculated that recurrent brain trauma can trigger changes that resemble the brain deterioration seen with Alzheimer's disease.  (4)

     Bennet Omalu, M.D., forensic neuropathologist at the Brain Injury Research Center believes deceased American professional wrestler Chris Benoit suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy based on the autopsy findings. (5)  He also studied brain tissue from deceased American professional wrestler Andrew Martin (Test) and found evidence of similar changes. (6)

Andrew Martin (Test)

     Former American professional wrestler Chris Nowinski is the founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, a not for profit organization dedicated to the study of concussions. (7)  WWE, as part of the Talent Wellness Program monitors professional wrestlers with the imPACT concussion management program. (8)


  2. J Head Trauma Rehabil 1998; 13: 53.
  3. Neurologia Medico-Chirugica 2007; 47(4): 147.
  4. JAMA  1997; 278: 136.
  5. J Forensic Nursing 2010; 130.
  6. www. 12/9/09.

Photographs are for illustrative purposes only.  Wrestling with Death does not claim ownership 

The medical resource was used in the preparation of this blog.

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Suicide and American professional wrestling

           Every year in the United States about 30,000 people commit suicide.  This accounts for about 1% of all deaths. (1)  The suicide rate is four times higher for men than women, with the highest rate in men over age 65. (2)  The majority of suicides are accomplished by firearms, followed by hanging in men and poisoning in women.

         A number of conditions have been associated with an increased risk of suicide including:

    • History of psychiatric condition.
    • Hopelessness.
    • Impulsivity.
    • Male gender.
    • Caucasian race.
    • Living alone.
    • Marital status (never married, followed by widowed, separated, divorced).
    • Unemployed.
    • Adverse childhood experience (for example emotional/physical/sexual abuse).
    • Family history of suicide.
    • Prior suicide attempt/threat.

         For over two decades there has been an epidemic of American professional wrestlers dying.  Many of them committed suicide.  Below is a list of professional wrestlers from the National and Modern eras who committed suicide.
    Kerry Von Erich
    • Edward Gossett (Promoter, Eddie Graham)  1/21/85.
    • Mike Adkisson (Mike Von Erich)  4/12/87.
    • Ed Gantner  12/31/90.
    • Chris Adkisson (Chris Von Erich)  9/12/91.
    • Harold Watanabe (Tojo Yamamoto) 2/19/92.
    • Kerry Adkisson (Kerry Von Erich)  2/18/93.
    • Jeremy Sumpter (Big E. Sleaze) 10/26/97.
    • Richard Williams (Renegade)  2/23/99.
    • Mitch Snow "2000".
    • Mike Marcello "2000".
    • Rhonda Singh  (Bertha Faye)  7/27/01.
    • Robert Dicks (Slick Robbie D)  2/18/02. 
    • Lee Estabrook (Core) 6/25/03.
    • Darlene Brown (promoter) 7/15/03.
    • Mike Lockwood (Crash Holly)  11/6/03.
    • Tim Berner (Vic Vengeance) 7/25/04.
    • Michael Alfonso (Mike Awesome)  2/17/07. 
    • Steven Ranton (Axis) 3/27/07.
    • Chris Benoit 6/25/07.
    • James Fawcett (Devil Bhudakhan) 7/12/07.
    • Adam Dykes (Adam Firestorm) 11/5/09.
    • Tony Halme (Ludvig Borga)  1/8/10.
    • Chris Klucsaritis (Kanyon)  4/2/10.
    • Kanyon
    • Alexander Whybrow (Larry Sweeney)  4/11/11. 
    • Rod Steele 8/11.


    1. American Association of Suicidology,  Washington, DC, 2001.
    2. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006; 55(26): 721.

    The medical resource was used in the preparation of this blog.

    Photographs are for illustrative purposes only.  Wrestling with Death does not claim ownership.

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Anabolic androgenic steroids and heart disease

         Anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse is widespread in competitive sports.  It has been estimated that close to 3% of American adults have used AAS. (1)  In one study 29% of college football players and 21% of male track and field athletes reported use. (2)  Self admitted use of AAS in elite power lifters was 55% in another study. (3)

    Brian Pillman
         Prevalence of AAS use among American professional wrestlers is unknown.  Data is limited because many past and current users are reluctant to admit usage of performance enhancing drugs.  Self reporting is known to yield inaccurate information.  This is especially true since 1990 when AAS were classified as a Schedule III drug of misuse.  Under oath Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) estimated 75-80% of WWE wrestlers were using AAS during 1982-83. (4)    While it is believed current use if down, no data are available.

         For over two decades there has been an epidemic of American professional wrestlers dying young.  Keith Pinckard, M.D., Ph.D, a forensic pathologist in Dallas, Texas who has followed deaths in professional wrestling estimated that professional wrestlers are 12 times more likely to die of heart disease than other individuals ages 25 to 44. (5)  That AAS can cause heart disease has been well known for a number of years. 

    Eddie Guerrero
         A non-fatal heart attack was first reported in the medical literature in a 22 year old weightlifter who used AAS for only six weeks. (6)  The first fatal heart attack was reported in a college athlete. (7)  Other cardiac fatalities due to heart attacks have subsequently been reported. (8,9)

         There have also been reports of cardiomyopathy occurring in AAS users. (10, 11)  There are studies that show AAS can cause abnormal enlargement of the left heart ventricle that can persist even after stopping drug use. (12)  Such changes to the heart function can cause heart failure (13) and even sudden death. (14)

         Other specific complications that have been reported in AAS users include pulmonary embolism (15), hypertension (16), adverse cholesterol profiles (17), and lethal heart rhythms (18).

    David Smith
        Many well know American professional wrestlers have died prematurely with autopsy findings supporting the use of AAS as a contributing factor.  Autopsy findings that have been described in AAS users include increased cardiac mass, features of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, interstitial fibrosis in the myocardium, and atherosclerosis.  Acute coronary thrombosis is not always identified. (11)

         On February 27, 2006 WWE implemented a Wellness Program that included a substance abuse and drug policy. (19)  The non-medical use of AAS which include and are based on the natural steroid testosterone is prohibited.  It is too early to know what effect this new policy will have on the death rate of professional wrestlers.


    1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes 2000; 15(3): 15.
    2. Clin Sports Med 1990; 2: 155.
    3. Physician Sportmed 1988; 16: 91.
    4. United States v. Vincent K. McMahon and Titan Sports, No 93-CT-1276.
    6. Am J Cardio 1988; 62: 162.
    7. N Engl J med 1990; 322: 476.
    8. Ugersk Laeger 1991; 153: 587.
    9. Am J Heart 1992; 124: 507.
    10. Physician Sportsmed 1988; 16(11): 109.
    11. Med J Aust 1993; 158: 34.
    12. Prog Cardiovasc Dis 1998; 41: 1.
    13. Eur Heart J 1996; 17: 1576.
    14. Med Sci Sports Exerc  1995; 27(9): 1252.
    15. JAMA 1992; 6: 2328.
    16. Med Toxicol Adverse Drug Exp 1989; 4: 254.
    17. Arch Intern Med 1991; 151: 1925.
    18. Am J Cardio 2000; 85 (10): 1212.

    Photographs are for illustrative purposes only.  Wrestling with Death does not claim ownership.