Concussions are becoming a big deal. In every sport on the planet, the focus has become how poorly concussions have been handled in history, and that includes professional wrestling. Thanks to the “tough guy” mentality, for the longest time, concussions were something that you were just supposed to shake off and play through. Even a few years ago, steps were made towards acknowledging that concussions might be something that needed to be dealt with, but by and large, they are still not being fully treated with the serious consideration these injuries deserve. We set out to find stories of pro wrestlers who had publicly acknowledged, in one form or another, suffering major concussions over their careers, but who also hadn’t let that stop them from continuing to wrestle, even eschewing medical treatment in order to get back in the ring as quickly as possible. The list is long, the implications eye-opening, and we limited the list to ten of the highest profile examples. The full list is undoubtedly staggering, and the consequences of failing to address this very real problem have clearly become more dire as time passes.
10. Mick Foley
Mick Foley’s concussions are probably the most well-documented of any wrestler. He talks frankly about them in several of his books, including a memorable section in his second autobiography where he details how his memory started to fail him, as well as his math skills, leading to his wife being forced to take over handling the family finances. And Foley still wrestled occasionally after that book was released, including an infamous match with Edge at WrestleMania that featured him taking a huge bump off the ring apron and through a flaming table! In addition, a segment of the Beyond The Mat documentary reveals the damage that was done after taking a dozen unprotected chair shots during his “I Quit” Match with The Rock at the 1999 Royal Rumble, and many of his most famous falls have been part of WWE highlight reels for years. In recent years, Foley has been candid about his belief that he suffered real brain damage over the course of his career, thanks to the head shots he took and the concussions he suffered and continued to work through.