wrestling / News

Rob Van Dam On His Experiences With Concussion, Learning That He Was Dealing With Them Wrong

July 18, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Rob Van Dam, Impact Wrestling

– During a recent appearance on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling, Rob Van Dam discussed his movie HEADSTRONG and what he’s learned about concussions while making the film. Van Dam said that he used be the the guy who would think he had to prove how tough he was by fighting through concussions, but that making the film helped teach him exactly how dangerous they are and what he was doing wrong when he would suffer one.

Highlights from the discussion are below, as well as the clip from the interview per the podcast:

On his own experiences with concussions: “Throughout my whole career … I thought, ‘Hey, I am showing how tough I am, showing what a chair shot I can take to my head and I’ll recover from it. And I knew, like, every night when Balls Mahoney was going to whack me with that chair for instance, I knew every night my bell was going to get rung. It was gonna be — sometimes everything would look slow motion for a few seconds, sometimes the sound would go out, or sometimes it would just feel like I am sleeping. There was all kinds of different aspects to having your bell rung. What I didn’t realize at the time was that was my brain bouncing against my skull, knocking my senses loose and that is a concussion. There’s minor concussions and then there’s major concussions, and I’ve really only had one that I would consider a major concussion — maybe two — where I couldn’t remember anything afterwards. Maybe two, in my life, and one of them was before I got in the business in a street situation where I was, I used to get in fights because I was stupid and testing myself I guess, but highly out numbered. I got knocked out one time and could not remember for the life of me, anything about what happened during that day. And I’ve seen that happen so many times since then, a lot of times with people that I am wrestling against. I’ve caught them with kicks, and afterwards, I had to tell them over and over and over what happened, because there are different measurements of concussions. I am learning everything I can now and I will be continuing to. I’d like to be a go-to guy, because I am smart, and when I am interested in something and do the research it is easy to retain the information and pick up a lot about it.”

On what he’s learned about concussions and CTE: “The main thing that I learned, John, from watching the movie. I mean, I put it together with one other guy. We edited it together frame-by-frame. And Joe Clark, the filmmaker, he filmed it. And like I said, the two of us did everything on it. And I really don’t think I realized until watching the whole story back, the main thing that I should be taking from it. And a lot of people might miss this too, but I got a concussion and afterwards I did everything wrong. Your brain needs to rest and you need to go someplace dark and close your eyes, not stimulate your brain. I did the exact opposite. For some reason, I really felt like I needed to gas my engine. I felt like my brain was sputtering out and I just stayed on the accelerator and like, ‘Vroom,’ like rev it through and everything would be cleared out. So I tried everything to stimulate my brain, including going ahead with this comedy tour even though Chris Nowinski told me not to do it. He said I wouldn’t be able to do it, is I think what I listened to mostly. And that was a bit of a challenge for me. I should have listened more to the part of I shouldn’t do it. And I think, I’m up there on stage for an hour and talking to the crowd with bright lights in my eyes. And I really believed because of these incorrect things to follow up with a concussion, I really think because of these things I did that is why my symptoms lasted so long.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Two-Man Power Trip of Wrestling with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.

article topics :

Rob Van Dam, Jeremy Thomas