Could a misdiagnosis by doctors have forced Daniel Bryan into a premature retirement?
The SmackDown Live GM recently joined former WWE Superstars Edge and Christian on their podcast, E&C's Pod of Awesomeness, to break down his current medical situation. Much has been discussed about his possible return, but this is by far the most detailed account of what exactly happened with Bryan.
Originally, Bryan was cleared by his personal doctors and a team of concussion specialist assigned by WWE. However, despite the good reports, WWE would not let Bryan wrestle.
Bryan would then pursue non-FDA experimental testing at Evoke Neuroscience in New York. Doctors there found something troubling — a lesion in the back of his brain.
“I’m just like, ‘Holy sh*t. A lesion.’ I’m like, ‘That’s it, I’m done. I’m finished.' ” Bryan said.
Vince McMahon asked Bryan to retire the next week on television. After his emotional speech, Bryan received a call from one of the original doctors that had cleared him earlier.
“I told him what happened and I said, ‘They found a lesion in the temporal-parietal region of my brain.’ He goes, ‘Wait, hold up, a lesion?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ And I don’t know what lesion means to you guys, a lesion to me means you have a cut. I have a cut on my brain. He goes, ‘No. The lesion, in medical terminology, is a very vague thing. It just means something is there. We don’t know what it is, so we call it a lesion in the temporal-parietal region of your brain,' ” the doctor explained.
Essentially, the only thing lacking in Bryan's capacity was reflex time. Even further, the discrepancy was minimal. Compared to athletes, Bryan's reflexes were slightly slower. But compared to the average person, they were fine.
“So I have average reflex time. I was like, ‘Oh no. I don’t think they understand. I’m just an average person, I’m not a real athlete!’ It’s just like, ‘Oh no, there’s been this huge, huge misunderstanding!' ” he said.
With Bryan aware there had been a mistake, his role as a non-wrestling GM began to eat at his insides.
“So all of a sudden I’m around it and I’m not being able to do the part that I love the most. And then they had me out there for an AJ Styles-Dean Ambrose match and it literally tore my heart apart. And then I was just like, ‘You know what? No. I’m not okay with this,' " Bryan admitted.
Ever since, Bryan has been working with Joe Namath Neurological Research Center. Their tests revealed that his brain resembles that of a college football player — a little worn, but nothing that poses a high-risk. Bryan has been using hyperbaric oxygen therapy to rehabilitate his injuries and thinks that the treatment could have him back in the ring in no time.
“There’s this vast improvement. And Brie sees the vast improvement. And then Dr. (Barry) Miskin thinks within 120 total treatments, so 80 treatments more, that my brain could get back to where if you looked at it from any other spectrum, you would think that I’d have never done any contact sports in my entire life,” he said.
Bryan concluded by saying not only does he expect to return to wrestling, but to have a consistent schedule.
“There’s no reason why I can’t return to doing what I love,” he said, adding that he "hopes to come back to wrestling in a part-time, 50-100 matches a year schedule."
Well, this has been quite the tale. It truly sounds like Bryan may have been robbed by poor communication. Even further, it seems that Bryan's return to a wrestling ring is inevitable.