Brain examination finds Benoit with massive damage
by Dave Meltzer
The results of a brain examination of Chris Benoit found significant damage from both repeated concussions and sub-concussive blows that may have played a part in his killing of himself, his wife and son in late June.
Dr. Julian Bailes of the Department of Neurosurgery at West Virginia University of Dr. Robert Cantu, the Chief of Neurosurgery Service and Director of Sports Medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, MA, presented their findings at a press conference this morning in New York. Also speaking were Chris' father Michael Benoit, and Benoit family lawyer Cary Ichter of Atlanta.
Cantu noted that out of the five athletes they have diagnosed with similar problems, including football stars Andre Waters, Terry Long and Mike Webster, the former two of whom committed suicide at a young age, that Benoit's brain showed the highest level of Tao protiens, indicating damage.
"Chris had, by far, the greatest amount of brain damage of the five," Cantu said.
Bailes said the level of damage was enough to explain the suicide and homicides
Neither Michael Benoit nor Ichter would comment on potential litigation. Ichter said the family is still in mourning and has given no thought about, "what steps are appropriate in the legal arena."
The only hint came in a statement by Michael Benoit who said he worked for a company where the top priority was the health and safety of its workers, and only wished his son had worked for a company with those same priorities.
Bailes and Cantu are the leading doctors in the Sports Legacy Institute, which became an official charitable corporation in June. The president of SLI is former WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski, who was not present at the press conference. Nowinski contacted Michael Benoit for the rights to examine Chris' brain. The WWE was not consulted or made aware of any of these findings ahead of time.
In questioning, the doctors downplayed the role of steroids in the case, but couldn't rule it out, only saying there is no medical evidence long-term steroid use causes the damage to the brain Chris Benoit had.
They portrayed the brain examination as the only tangible evidence that has come to light to explain why Chris Benoit may have done what he did, They noted his level of damage would lead to cognitive impairment, major depression and heightened aggression.
Michael Benoit also noted he had read Chris' diary and said it gave the impression of an extremely disturbed person, but that in his limited contact with Chris, a few minute phone call every week or two, he had no indication anything was wrong.