Welcome to the new look of my blog, which has been renamed “Concussion Inc.” and transformed into the hub of my web presence. You can get here via either https://concussioninc.net or the old address, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com.
Concussion Inc. continues to archive posts related to my previous books, WRESTLING BABYLON and CHRIS & NANCY. As has been the case for a while, the reporting here is now directed more toward my next book, with familiar common themes.
General theme: The world of pro wrestling and the world at large are considerably more alike than different. This is evident even, and perhaps especially, in the blood sport of politics. (Think of the scene in The Godfather in which the Diane Keaton character, upon noticing pillars of the community mingling socially with Mafiosi, expresses revulsion. The Al Pacino character says back to her, “Now who’s being naïve?”)
Specific theme: The nearly $10-billion-a-year global pro football industry is being shaken all the way down to its three-point stance by awareness that the sport at all levels involves a previously covered up toll of long-term brain trauma. This has turned into a national public health crisis, as well as a hiccup for the National Football League, one of American culture’s iconic brands. What you have is an athletic echo of the tobacco industry scandal – and, once more, one with a wrestling provenance. The sensational 2007 double murder/suicide of World Wrestling Entertainment star Chris Benoit helped put chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on the map. WWE’s medical director, Dr. Joseph Maroon, is a central figure in the long contemporary history of CTE through his ties with the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and through his development and marketing of the most popular product in sports-medicine concussion management.
Investigative journalism is not “peer-reviewed scientific literature.” It is a contact sport. My version of it favors transparent and interactive relationships with readers and sources. I also recognize that back stories and their interpretation are organic; I strive for what is, at best, the second draft of history. Finally, readers will find that I am far more willing than conventional sportswriters to steer the narrative toward personalities, institutions, and questions with which others are disinclined to wrestle (so to speak).
I invite you all along for the ride.
see also: WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT IRVIN MUCHNICK