A report published by the Boston Globe and compiled by Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who first discovered CTE in a professional football player, says that former ECW wrestlers Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten both were suffering from CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy – at the time of their deaths.
Mahoney, real name Jon Rechner, and Rotten, real name Brian Knighton, both died this year at age 44. Rotten passed away in February from an accidental heroin overdose while Mahoney passed away in April from a heart attack.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is described as a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have had a severe blow or repeated blows to the head. Chris Benoit was diagnosed with CTE in 2007 while Andrew “Test” Martin was also diagnosed in 2008. Both cases were diagnosed by Dr. Bennet Omalu. CTE can only be discovered through postmortem brain autopsies.
A WWE spokesman refused to comment to the Boston Globe until the company can review the research on the diagnosis. Axl Rotten’s family is part of the brain injury lawsuit against WWE which is spearheaded by Konstantine Kyros. He is representing more than 60 former wrestlers against the WWE.