I was channel surfing last night when I came across a celebrity show that was featuring celebrity mistakes. The only reason I stopped is because they were featuring the multiple murder-suicide that involved the WWE wrestler, Chris Benoit.
The family of Chris Benoit has been searching for answers since late June, when the professional wrestler killed his wife, 7-year-old son and then himself….
The tests, conducted by Julian Bailes of the Sports Legacy Institute, show that Benoit’s brain was so severely damaged it resembled the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient.
Bailes and his research team say that this damage was the result of a lifetime of chronic concussions and head trauma suffered while Benoit was in the wrestling ring.
Benoit’s “finishing move” was the flying headbutt. The above video is but one instance of Benoit using this move over decades of theatrical wrestling.
Science Daily has a longer article on Benoit and it includes the autopsy slides of his brain.
The top slide is a normal healthy brain and the bottom slide is what was left of Mr. Benoit’s.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a form of brain damage that is best documented in boxers, but can also occur in athletes who played football, ice hockey, rugby, soccer, or any sport associated with impacts to the head. It can only be confirmed by a post-mortem neuropathological immunohistochemical study. While studies show that as many as 20 percent of professional boxers show evidence of CTE, there has been little study of CTE in athletes involved in other contact sports.
This makes me recall an older post by TDA Training on brain injuries and MMA.
I don’t believe that headgear does much to prevent damage to the brain. For the following reasons…
After re-thinking this I’m inclined to agree with Nathan. I think the main cause is repeated blows to the head. Given that boxing targets mostly the head, it should be no surprise that there is a long history of brain damage in that sport. In addition, there’s a history of professional football players who suffer from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy — this despite the fact that they all wear helmets.
Many moons ago I dabbled in boxing and one of the reasons I did not last more than 1.5 years is the concerns I had about my head. Getting hit in the head sucks! Seriously. Between boxing and tae kwon do I’ve never been knocked out. However, I’ve probably had my bell rung a half dozen times. That’s a half dozen too many in my opinion!
And you grapplers who are reading this don’t think that you are immune either! The worst blow to my head happened back at my old TKD school. I was demonstrating the side choke to Tornado. Mr. Tornado trains for triathlons and is in outstanding shape. Anyhow, he thought I was actually going to choke him out (I was not!). Using instinct, muscle and panic–not skill–he was able to throw me. The problem is that I was not expecting to be thrown and I ended up cracking my head on a hard wood floor.
Tornado’s quote of the decade:
I think I broke Bob.
I very sure that I had a mild concussion. In fact, I probably should have went to the doctor. Ironically–and also being very dumb and equally stubborn–I ended up teaching the advanced class that night. Sabum said I actually made sense and it was a good lesson. Funny thing is I really don’t remember much of what I taught!
Bottom line: there are many ways to safely practice self-defense without risking repeated and needless blows to your head.