Author: Christian

The Truth About Head Trauma

The Truth About Head Trauma

A Former W.W.E. Wrestler Taps In Against Concussion Deniers

Enlarge this image toggle caption Paul Sakuma/NPR Paul Sakuma/NPR

The first month after a violent injury to head and brain makes you dizzy, feel sick and have trouble remembering recent events, you might be tempted to turn to your doctors and say, “It’s all in your head.”

But that’s not how Dr. Scott Sieradzki of Baltimore believes. He is among the growing number of former wrestlers who are publicly questioning the growing belief that head trauma causes the persistent problems that have become known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is associated with chronic traumatic brain injuries in all the major combat sports.

Sieradzki says he wanted to change the way many people view a head injury — and to use his own injuries as an example — because he grew up in the sport of mixed martial arts and has never played a game like a football.

Before his bout with the Parkinson’s disease he now faces, he was a top-level wrestler, winning three world championships and beating the top fighters from the other major UFC championships. He fought in the UFC’s first show, the UFC 1: The Ultimate Fight Night, and fought two of the biggest names in the sport.

He knows he had a concussion at fight number four. He was told by doctors that he had suffered an injury that would normally prevent him from fighting. His symptoms started about six weeks after he was knocked unconscious on the ground.

He says he is now taking a different attitude to head trauma: You can’t ignore the science or the truth.

“When I decided to fight in the UFC, I figured I was going to fight and I was going to take my chance,” Sieradzki says. “But when it came time for my fight with Fedor, I didn’t want to take the chance at all. So I was just going to try to win by any means available.”

His first fight against Fedor Emelianenko changed his attitude.

Enlarge this image toggle caption Paul Sakuma/NPR Paul Sakuma/NPR

“I had been told that I may never fight again,” Sieradzki says. “But when he

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