Brain of WWE Wrestler Chyna May Be Donated for Research to Doctor From ‘Concussion’ Movie
WWE wrestler Joanie “Chyna” Laurer, who died on April 20, may have her brain donated to research.
Her brain would be given to Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who was the main character in the movie “Concussion,” played by actor Will Smith, Chyna’s manager told the New York Daily News on April 22.
The wrestler was found dead in her California home. The cause of death is unknown.
“We want to donate her brain. We want to know what made Chyna tick,” manager Anthony Anzaldo told the Daily News.
Anzaldo said lawyers had reached out to him before the wrestler’s death to see if she was interested in joining a brain injury lawsuit against the WWE. Anzaldo said they didn’t want any part of the litigation but were interested in the science.
“When she died, they called me again and asked, ‘Can we have her brain?'” Anzaldo said.
“My hope is that we can do it. I’m in the process of getting the permission to speak on behalf of family to tell the coroner it’s okay to release it,” he added.
Anzaldo said the doctor who reached out to him was Dr. Omalu, who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) by examining professional football players.
“I’ve been told (Dr. Omalu) is calling the medical examiner to let them know the plan, so they’ll be cautious with her brain,” Anzaldo said Friday.
The manager said Chyna did not suffer concussions during her WWE career, but she did undergo physical injuries. Her brain could also be useful for other research, including her history with domestic violence.
Chyna, 45, was in the middle of filming the documentary “The Reconstruction of Chyna,” when she was found by Anzaldo unconscious while cameras were rolling. Anzaldo said he found the wrestler in her bed with two prescription bottles in the room, Ambien, and an anti-anxiety medication similar to Xanax.
“Me walking in was shot. I would never show me finding her, but you might hear me,” he told the Daily News.
He said he is comfortable with the film unfolding throughout the investigation of her death. The documentary is set to be released next year.