Back in 2008, former football player and announcer Mike Adamle joined WWE. After serving as a backstage interviewer, he became an announcer and then was moved into the kayfabe position of General Manager of Raw.
Most fans honestly view Adamle’s time with the ‘E as a bit of a joke. His transition to the GM role came after the company turned his frequent flubs while working play-by-play for their ECW show into an angle to write him out of that job. All together, he didn’t last twelve months with WWE.
It’ll be harder to look back on that era and laugh after this. In an interview Adamle just gave to Chicago’s NBC 5 news, he reveals that he’s been diagnosed with dementia and several other symptoms consistent with Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, or CTE.
The 67 year old told interviewer Peggy Kusinski he experiences dramatic mood swings, episodes of rage, depression, anxiety and memory loss.
I've been on short-term disability and then long-term disability. I've had seizures and epilepsy for the last 19 years.
[My doctor said] we see some things that are concurrent with CTE [Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy]. I'm going, “What? How can you say that? I thought it was supposed to happen after you pass away.”
Here's what happens. You [Kusinski] come over and you can do an interview with me and you'll leave and I'll say, “Oh God who is that?"
Watching a movie last night -- this happened last night -- five seconds into it, I'll say 'What are we watching?'
To be clear, whatever traumatic brain injury Adamle is dealing with doesn’t stem from his brief time in wrestling. He played football all through his early, including at Northestern University and with three different NFL teams, and that’s where he suffered the concussions he believes led to his current condition.
But knowing the seizures go back to the 90s, it’s not too big a leap to think the lapses which made him the butt of wrestling fans’ jokes back in ‘08 were related to his brain injury.
These days, in addition to trying to stay active however he can, Adamle is telling his story to spread awareness about brain injury and its consequences. He says he’d still play football if he had it to do all over again, but would work harder in the offseason to learn how to protect himself.
So hopefully, along with work that’s being done with the support of the NFL, WWE and others, Adamle can contribute to there being fewer athletes in the future who live with his symptoms.
That’s a better legacy than “Adamle Originals”, anyway.