Wrestling Superstar Rob Van Dam Reveals CTE Diagnosis After Suffering Hundreds Of Concussions In Ring

Nov. 12 2021, Published 10:42 a.m. ET

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Rob Van Dam has an announcement to make, and it's arguably every professional athlete's greatest fear.

The 50-year-old longtime wrestling superstar – whose "RVD" chants have have reverberated from arenas to homes across the country for nearly 30 years – has chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known in the sports world as CTE.

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wrestler wwe rob van dam brain injury diagnosis reelz documentary r
Source: REELZ

CTE is a progressive brain condition that's believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head and/or repeated episodes of concussion. It's particularly associated with contact sports, and after a three-decade career marked by hundreds of concussions spanning thousands of wrestling matches, it's something RVD knows all too well.

In's exclusive sneak peek of REELZ's upcoming documentary, Rob Van Dam: Headstrong, the Michigan native chronicles his rise to fame and the price he's now having to pay for it: irreparable cognitive damage and decline.

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Though a definitive diagnosis of CTE can currently only be made by examining the brain tissue of a deceased person (in fact, most of the available studies on the condition are based on ex-athletes who donated their brains to science), many wrestlers, boxers and football players have become increasingly aware of the signs.

Fans will learn of Van Dam's diagnosis as cameras follow the superstar to a therapy session, but they'll also get to see how the condition affects his everyday life.

"Usually, it shakes off in a few seconds, like, bam, I smack my head, my equilibrium is off, and I'm like, 'Whoa,' give me a minute,' I'll tell the referee," he says about a recent match.

wrestler wwe rob van dam brain injury diagnosis reelz documentary r
Source: REELZ
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Despite the diagnosis, RVD's determined to keep things positive and hopeful.

"I feel good. I still got double vision, and I think it gets worse as the day goes on maybe because my brain's tired or something, I don't know," he says. "'Cause from what I've heard, brain stimulation is bad for it, and I'm supposed to do nothing. 'Don't think, don't read, don't look at s--t.'"

"I'm doing my best, but anyway, I feel good," adds the legend. "I'm just like still hoping, you know, I'm sure tomorrow I'll wake up and feel fine. 100 percent. Positive."

Rob Van Dam: Headstrong premieres Saturday, November 13 at 8 PM ET/PT on REELZ.

Watch REELZ on DIRECTV 238, Dish Network 299, Verizon FiOS 692, AT&T U-verse 1799 and in HD on cable systems and streaming services nationwide. Find REELZ on your local cable or satellite provider at

wrestler wwe rob van dam brain injury diagnosis reelz documentary r
Source: MEGA


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