Fact: WWE’s wellness policy does not really deal that much with wellness

Word on the street is that when Randy Orton got suspended for his second wellness violation, two other superstars tested positive as well.

Whether there are more suspensions to be announced, I don’t know, but I’m fascinated by the part of the story that says one of the wrestlers produced a valid prescription for the medication he was taking.

One has to ask – if the WWE has a wellness policy that is concerned with its talent’s health, why do they not know when they’re on strong, potentially performance or behaviour-altering medication?

The wellness policy specifically states that the WWE’s medical director should be notified of any prescriptions given to talent. Clearly, this is not happening as a matter of course.

In ‘real’ sports, some prescription medication is banned during competition because of its possible performance-enhancing impacts, including some painkillers and diuretics.

In the WWE, extensive substances are banned ostensibly because of the long-term effects on the individual’s health. No surprise there, really. That’s the reason they ban pseudoephedrine, a list of analgesics and sedatives.

As far as I can tell, there is no moral objection to taking the drugs per se (as long as they’re legal). Yet they still categorise some substances as ‘performance-enhancing’ (these are the anabolic steroids and growth hormones), and specify throughout of the dangers of ‘non-medical usage’ of medications.

If you’re looking out for ‘non-medical usage’, guys, perhaps you ought to be aware of the medical status of your talent. This isn’t a company that’s doing random drug testing on its office staff; this is a world-wide corporation looking to ensure that its wrestlers don’t endanger themselves or anyone else due to their drug use. Surely then they should be asking their talent to update them regularly if they’re taking prescribed drugs for anything that might be questionable under the wellness policy.

A real wellness policy concerned with genuine wellness would be encouraging honesty with its staff and actually looking at their all-round health (including conditions for which they are being prescribed medication). We’ve seen many, many times in the past that wrestlers aren’t always best placed to understand the long-term health impact of what they’re doing on their health. Withdrawing talent from live events when not ‘medically cleared’ is a good first step, but looking at their all-round health as well as simply injuries has to be part of wellness.

Otherwise one might draw the conclusion that the wellness policy is merely a cover-up, paying lip service to caring about talent’s welfare and attempting to draw a veil over the darker side of an industry that has suffered hugely from losing its stars many, many years too early due to drug abuse.


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