The WWE has had some of the most talented men and women work for them over the course of its long history. Though no matter how successful the WWE has been, or how big the WWE’s wrestlers have become, with several even becoming some of the biggest movie stars like John Cena, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Hulk Hogan, people need to remember that they are still human beings that have immune systems.
No matter how rich or famous people are, they are still people that can be just as susceptible to medical conditions as anyone else. Some of the biggest wrestlers in the world actually had health conditions that were quite serious and in some cases life threatening. While a lot of people assume that wrestlers are the most perfectly healthy people in the world because of the training they endure, the fact is that there have been famous wrestlers that had medical conditions that ended their careers, and in some cases their lives, earlier than expected.
Just which wrestlers suffered from medical conditions that no one knew about? Here is a list of 10 wrestlers that had, and still have, medical issues that few fans ever knew about.
10. Andre the Giant – Acromegaly
Andre the Giant had a medical condition called Acromegaly. With this medical condition, the human body grows at an alarming rate due to having an overabundance of human growth hormone, which is why Andre was able to become so tall and broad. Imagine what it must have been like for Andre growing up, being so much bigger and heavier than the boys and girls that were around him? Fortunately, Andre embraced his unique condition, and used it to his advantage, becoming a wrestler who is famous even to this day, 22 years after he died. Despite his size, Andre was a fun and kind man, and he will forever be missed.
9. George “The Animal” Steele – Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic condition associated with the digestive system. For people who have this condition, life can be tough because sometimes eating can be quite painful. Other symptoms of this condition include fever, weight loss, fatigue, and issues such as constipation or diarrhea. One wrestler that had to live with Crohn’s Disease was George “The Animal” Steele. Imagine how difficult it must have been for Steele when it came time to wrestle, and the poor man felt sick to his stomach or had a fever? Eventually, Steel lost part of his colon, and is in much better health these days, though he is still living with the condition.
8. Brock Lesnar – Diverticulitis
Brock Lesnar has been billed as one of the toughest men in the WWE, but even tough men can end up with a medical condition that can change the course of their career, and their lives too. Back in 2009, Brock Lesnar was diagnosed with diverticulitis, a condition involving the digestive tract. The condition can be quite hard to live with, especially for a professional athlete. The diverticula are small pouches in the intestinal tract, and if they become irritated or inflamed by certain foods, or blows to the stomach, then people can end up with an infection that can land them in the hospital. Lesnar ended up having to have part of his colon removed, and has to be careful about any blows he sustains to his abdomen because ruptured diverticula can lead to infection, and even death.
7. Jerry “The King” Lawler – Diverticulitis
Another famous WWE wrestler that has now become the victim of diverticulitis, Jerry Lawler. Back in January of 2015, Lawler was in the hospital for the same condition that Brock Lesnar was diagnosed with in 2009. The infection was not serious enough for Lawler to need surgery, like Lesnar has had twice, but it was bad enough for him to remain in the hospital over the course of several days. Lawler will now have to change his eating habits to ensure his digestive tract is kept healthy, or it could lead to such symptoms as pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
6. The Rock – Depression
How shocking to hear that a man like The Rock, one who has had so much success and is admired by so many, has had issues with depression? It can be difficult to understand how a man who appears to have it all can still have feelings of worthlessness. Johnson revealed that his issues with depression started back in college, when had an injury that impacted his career in professional football. Johnson also revealed that his divorce from Dany Garcia also lead to depression issues. However, things are back on track for Johnson, and for now, he is not having any more issues with the condition.
5. Giant Gonzalez – Diabetes
Jorge “Giant” Gonzalez took the wrestling world by storm with his big stature that measured in at seven and a half feet tall. The former basketball player turned wrestler became known as the Giant. Gonzalez wore a body suit in the ring, and would literally destroy his opponents, including famous wrestlers like Hulk Hogan. However, who would have guessed that this formidable giant would eventually be defeated by too much sugar? Gonzalez was diagnosed with diabetes, and sadly the condition left him wheelchair bound. In 2010, Gonzalez’s battle with diabetes was over when the giant man passed away at the very young age of 44.
4. Kamala – Diabetes
James Harris, also known in the professional wrestling world as Kamala, has now lost both of his legs due to diabetes. Once billed as the cannibal from Uganda, Harris is now getting around while in a wheelchair and is living on a fixed income. Diabetes strikes millions of people every year, and can be devastating to the body if left untreated. Harris lost both his legs, and now has to have dialysis with a machine in his home, but his spirit remains positive. Despite having such a condition, Harris builds furniture in his garage that he sells over the Internet, and has a smile for people that see him on the street.
3. Edge – Spinal Stenosis
There are few things more devastating for a wrestler who is in top physical condition than to have to retire from wrestling due to a medical condition. Edge, whose real name is Adam Copeland, was one of the most popular WWE wrestlers, but was forced to stop wrestling due to spinal stenosis, which is a condition that causes the spinal cord to become narrow. This narrowing of the spinal column can cause sufferers to become paralyzed, but it normally does not happen until people are senior citizens. Copeland underwent surgery on his neck back in 2003, and spent a year recovering from the procedure.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Spinal stenosis not only cut short the career of Edge, but it also claimed the career of mega superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin was wrestling with Owen Hart when the wrestler performed a pile driver that broke Austin’s neck. For the longest time, Steve Austin had no idea his neck was even broken, but it was eventually discovered and he had to undergo surgery. While the surgery was successful, and stabilized his neck, Austin too was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, and can no longer wrestle. If Austin were to accidentally get hit in the neck, he could end up paralyzed for life, which is something that no one wants to see.
1. Vince McMahon – Dyslexia
Who would have guessed that one of the most powerful men in the history of professional wrestling was diagnosed with a medical condition known as dyslexia? Dyslexia is a learning disorder, and sufferers of it have issues with learning, reading, and writing. Vince McMahon was diagnosed as a child, and his childhood itself was not a good one, with his mother and her multiple marriages that led to abuse both of her, and her young son. McMahon did not meet his real dad until he was 12, and that meeting is what inspired him to get into the wrestling business. However, the man who is worth more than a billion dollars has learned to live with his condition, and as difficult as it may have been, he was able to overcome his challenge and become one of the most powerful men in the world.