Working as a camera man for professional wrestling offers me opportunities to meet icons of the sport. One of the wrestling stars I’ve chanced to meet was WCW and TNA wrestling’s Scream Queen, Daffney. Daffney, is crowdsourcing a new project, an audiobook memoir. A large part of her story sheds light on the subject of wrestling injuries, those she suffered while wrestling, but also the industry-wide problem of how injuries are handled.From experience I can tell you medical care of professional wrestlers is an important issue that desperately needs more exposure. I film a number of sports, and pro wrestlers by far take the most dangerous risks, and get the least support when injured.
What I Learned from Daffney
Daffney, known during part of her TNA run as “The Governor”, shared with me a great deal about her injuries, and her legal battle with TNA wrestling that followed. She told me some fun stories about her travels and adventures with a number of the great superstars of wrestling, but also shared several sad, somber stories about some of my heroes who have been injured in the ring. It would surprise even dedicated wrestling fans to know how many of their heroes have suffered debilitating injuries. These athletes often suffer in silence when a devastating injury limits or even ends their ability to wrestle or otherwise function. For every Hogan or Flair who made their millions, there are far more wrestlers who return to work in independent leagues, and make an average income. A serious injury can be a career ender, or at least the same financial burden a hospital bill would be for any average family.
Daffney also spoke frankly about her struggles with bipolar disorder, another topic she wants to tackle in her story. It’s a brave thing to share with the public when you have a medical condition that is invisible. I applaud her for wanting to share her personal story in a way that brings attention to the troubling inadequacies of her sport, but also puts another face on the struggles of the millions of people who live with bipolar disorder.
Why You Should Support Independent Wrestling
In the minor leagues of most sports, athletes can usually support themselves on what they’re paid to train and play. Additionally, they almost always have the ongoing medical support of trainers and staff therapists. In wrestling, only the very top of the industry get that kind of financial and medical support. Most young wrestlers work a day job in another field, train themselves, and have to pay their own medical bills, or tough it out. I’ve seen some great talents cut down by injury before achieving mainstream success. It’s sad to see a talent cut short by injury in any sport, but in wrestling it’s made worse by the lack of support young wrestlers receive. I support the industry for these hopeful stars. If you’re a wrestling fan, get out there and fill the seats at shows. I’ll be giving my support to Daffney’s Autobiographical Audiobook because it’s a story that needs to be told. You can, too, and make a positive contribution to a sport and industry where young talents risk so much to entertain us.