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WWE concussion lawsuit latest: Konstantine Kyros continues his attacks against the McMahons

Despite Jerry McDevitt demanding that falsehoods like Stephanie McMahon fraudulently concealed the risk of concussions to Congress be removed in any amended complaint in the class action concussion lawsuit against WWE, they still persist in the latest filings.

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The latest development in the ongoing class action concussion lawsuit against WWE is that the lawyers for Russ McCullough, Ryan Sakoda and Luther Reigns (including Kostantine Kyros who wasn't named in the original case) have filed an updated complaint, in response to the company's criticism that it followed Kyros' "pattern of making false, salacious, and incendiary allegations designed more for media consumption than legal merit".

The amended complaint is a much tighter, well-honed document, but still includes some dubious claims like "A wrestler such as Plaintiff LoGrasso, wrestling on average five times a week, sustained repeated concussions day after day over many years, resulting in a greatly increased chance of CTE and related illnesses."

The most noticeable change is rather than remove the allegation that Stephanie McMahon committed perjury by fraudulently concealing the risk of concussions during testimony that she gave to a Congressional Committee in 2007, as WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt recently requested due to it being an odiously concocted falsehood, Kyros has continued his attacks that WWE has attempted to cover up the dangers of head trauma associated with wrestling by including further examples he originally made in his Matthew Osborne wrongful death lawsuit. These newer allegations include that:

1. WWE were slow to adopt a rigorous concussion policy compared to other contact sports.

The NFL had created the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee in 1994. The NHL introduced a Concussion Policy in 1997 requiring NHL team doctors to document all concussions and collected data on standardized injury report forms. In 1997, the NHL began baseline testing for its players and required team doctors and trainers to maintain records of all players believed to have concussions. Yet WWE waited nearly a decade before adopting similar policies.

2. WWE attempted to publicly discredit the research by Dr. Bennett Omalu that WWE wrestlers Chris Benoit and Andrew "Test" Martin had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of their deaths.

WWE stated on ESPN, "[w]hile this is a new emerging science, the WWE is unaware of the veracity of any of these tests, be it for [professional wrestlers] 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…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." Yet, Chris Benoit spurred "a more comprehensive look at [WWE’s] talent".

3. WWE misled ESPN when they said they hadn't seen the Benoit research and test results. (NB. This claim comes from Irv Muchnick's recent Concussion Inc. book).

WWE’s request to examine the research and tests was feigned, as Dr. Omalu reported that "[WWE's medical director] Dr. [Joseph] 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."

4. Jerry McDevitt himself encouraged WWE to hire Dr. Joseph Maroon as its medical director despite being a prominent CTE denier. (NB. This claim comes from an interview with McDevitt in the Pittsburgh City Paper in 2010).

WWE created its "Wellness Program" in 2006, and selected Dr. Maroon as its architect, despite his involvement in public efforts to discredit Dr. Omalu's research. An attorney for WWE has been publicly credited with establishing the "medical-testing program to protect wrestlers’ health." That attorney has stated that the untimely death of popular wrestler Eddie Guerrero in November of 2005 "was the catalyst to the program that [WWE] now ha[s] in place." That attorney retained by WWE recommended that WWE employ Dr. Joseph Maroon to set the program up.

WWE’s chief doctor, Dr. Joseph Maroon, has been involved in prior concussion and head trauma related cover ups, including attempts to discredit research related to CTE.

5. Dr. Joseph Maroon's ImPACT concussion testing that WWE uses is so inaccurate that it may even be detrimental to their performers' health. (NB. This claim comes from the 2012 article "Concussion test may not be panacea").

The Wellness Program uses a concussion diagnostic system which a "study of studies" in 2012 revealed may increase the risk of long term damage because of its error rate.

Kyros' decision to start going after Dr. Joseph Maroon is unsurprising given that Maroon will likely be portrayed in an unflattering light in the upcoming Will Smith film Concussion about the discovery of CTE by Dr. Bennett Omalu in several NFL players who had committed suicide.

I'd like to thank David Bixenspan once again for sharing with me copies of the latest legal documents filed in this case that form the basis of this article.

Update: It should be stressed that WWE has moved to sanction Konstantine Kyros over the (allegedly) false allegations he has made and repeated in the cases he has filed.

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