More than 50 retired professional wrestlers have joined a class action lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, alleging that the organization hid information about the long-term adverse effects caused by traumatic brain injury.

The wrestlers contend that they have suffered neurological injuries due to their participation in WWE events, which caused repeated head injuries that caused them to develop Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The plaintiffs allege that WWE failed to provide adequate medical care and to follow established guidelines used by other professional sports to protect players against long-term brain injury.

The suit classifies the plaintiffs as independent contractors, not employees, and alleges that WWE controlled any medical treatment the plaintiffs received. According to the complaint, “plaintiffs completely and reasonably relied on WWE and [McMahon’s] knowledge, information and authority in deciding whether to perform or seek treatment for injuries.”

In addition, the wrestlers claim that WWE and McMahon “deliberately ignored and actively concealed … medically important and possibly lifesaving information about specific neurological conditions like CTE that afflict wrestlers and contact sports athletes with similar clinical histories of head trauma.”

The suit alleges that WWE and McMahon were aware that scripted WWE events that included such maneuvers as the “pile driver” and the “body slam” caused head trauma and that the trauma could “result in suicide, drug abuse and violent behavior that pose a danger to not only the athletes themselves but also their families and community.” The plaintiffs contend that WWE did not provide them with any information about the risks associated with the wrestling moves they performed at WWE events and did not provide them with any medical treatment.

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