Claim: WWE’s money silencing Chris Nowinski’s Concussion Legacy Foundation

Jun 11, 2016 - by Steve Gerweck

The Boston Globe posted an article pertaining to claims made by former professional wrestlers against Chris Nowinski’s Walthan-based Concussion Legacy Foundation. Wrestlers such as Rene Dupree (Goguen, a former World Tag Team champion as part of La Resistance) are accusing the Concussion Legacy of forming a financial bond with World Wrestling Entertainment which has changed the Foundation’s direction in research. The same billion-dollar corporation that have fought concussion-related lawsuits.

WWE agreed to donate $2.7 million to Nowinski’s foundation, making it the largest benefactor the nonprofit has publicly acknowledged. The Concussion Legacy has reached out to deceased athletes to acquire their brains for research. The research hopes to demonstrate links between repetitive head blows and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease that has been diagnosed in hundreds of sports and military veterans, many of whom have committed suicide or succumbed to drug overdoses.

However, none of the athletes recentlyy targeted by Nowinski’s Concussion Legacy Foundation were professional wrestlers. Since WWE’s generous donation in 2013, nearly 100 wrestlers have passed away, many dying before the age of 50. Additionally, legendary wrestlers such as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and The Ultimate Warrior, just to name a few, have passed away since WWE became a benefactor for Nowinski’s foundation.

According to Nowinski, the co-founder and president of Concussion Legacy Foundation, his organization has not reached to the families of deceased wrestlers since 2013, “largely because he has scaled back actively pursuing brains of people who have died.”

Prior to WWE’s financial involvement, Nowinski’s Foundation procured the brain of Chris Benoit, which the foundation’s reached found that Benoit suffered from severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy at the time he murdered his wife and young son before killing himself.

“I want to make clear how inaccurate it would be to claim or insinuate that if there were no donations from the families of professional wrestlers since 2013, it would imply unprofessional activity,’’ Goguen told the Boston Globe.

The Globe reports that WWE has given Nowinski’s foundation $400,000 a year since 2013. In 2014, the payment accounted for 36 percent of the foundation’s total grants and contributions of $1.1 million, according to its most recently available federal tax statement.

In addition to WWE’s financial donation to the Foundation, Triple H has a seat on the foundation’s board of directors. In 2015, WWE announcer Corey Graves was invited to host the foundation’s awards gala.

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