The “Yes!” movement is making a comeback.
Two years after retiring from wrestling due to concussion-related brain trauma, Daniel Bryan has been cleared by the WWE to return to in-ring action. The WWE announced the news on Tuesday on their website, along with a lot of very specific information about who cleared him.
Following more than two years of extensive evaluations, four-time World Champion Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to in-ring competition by leading neurosurgeons, neurologists and concussion experts, including Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Javier Cárdenas and Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher.
Bryan underwent a full review of his medical history and received comprehensive neurological and physical evaluations independent of WWE. He was cleared by each doctor as well as WWE’s Medical Director, Dr. Joseph Maroon.
Bryan’s retirement in February 2016 was the emotional conclusion to nearly two years of injuries and health problems. Before his official retirement announcement, he hadn’t wrestled for nearly a year due to a concussion-related injury. In 2014, after he defeated Randy Orton and Dave Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30, Bryan had to vacate the title due to neck surgery.
Bryan has been serving as the on-screen general manager for SmackDown Live since 2016, which has given him many chances to tease his comeback. And now it’s actually happening! While it’s welcome news for Bryan’s many fans, it’s also a little concerning. Concussions, and their after-effects, led to his retirement. He and his wife, fellow wrestler Brie Bella, openly discussed how the aftermath of the concussions, including seizures, impacted their lives.
CTE is no joke, and it’s prominence in the national conversation about professional athletes (including wrestlers) is what makes this good news feel strange. What tests were done to clear him? What happened to the damage already done to his brain from previous concussions? Should he really be returning?
These are important questions, and they won’t go away. But it’s impossible not to be thrilled that Bryan is returning to the ring. The guy loves to wrestle, and his excitement and enthusiasm are completely contagious. There’s only one appropriate reaction to this news.
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