• Carlos Astorga

Former ROH Talent Also Speaks Out On Lack Of Concussion Protocol


In a recent story by Newsweek, current Women Of Honor Champion, Kelly Klein expressed her concerns regarding the promotion not having standard safety policies with regards to several needs such as treating injuries, most notably, concussions. The issue arose during a match with Lana Austin back on October 26th, 2019 on what was a Ring Of Honor (ROH) television match at the Newport Centre in Gwent, Wales, United Kingdom. During the match, Klein suffered an impact to her head which later led to her suffering from a concussion.


As a follow-up to the story, however, a former ROH Talent, Chris Silvio, who competed with the company back in 2011-2012, has come out to discuss his own experience with the company and has also corroborated Kelly Klein’s recent statements. In a letter that was posted on his Twitter account, Silvio wrote the following about his experience in ROH:


“I worked regularly on the undercard of many Ring Of Honor events and television tapings through 2011-2012. I was brought in by a then producer. I was paid on a nightly basis and worked with some of the company’s top performers. I lived in Louisville KY at the time working with OVW and made long drives to places like Milwaukee, Baltimore, and Pennsylvania. Said producer was gracious enough to cover my travel expenses from what I understand was mostly out of pocket. I was paid around $100 a match but wanted to do whatever it took to become a part of ROH. For me it wasn’t about the money. I wanted to prove that I could contribute to the company. My story takes place in late 2012.


I don’t remember the exact date which will later become clear as to why. It was a tv taping in Pittsburgh at a hockey arena. That meant the building was literally around 40 degrees. Thankfully I’d been having back pain and had brought a heating pad with me. I bundled up and laid on the heating pad until it was time for my match.


The ring was placed on boards on top of the ice. To say it was cold was an understatement. I was given my instructions for the match from both producers.


I was to work with a future world champion, whom at this time I choose not to name. (Maybe that will change one day) They wanted to use a particularly risky move as a finish. My trainer Rip Rogers taught me to avoid any unnecessary head or neck bumps as if you get hurt you can’t work. I was hesitant to do the move but didn’t want to rock the boat especially after the producer who brought me into the company personally asked me to do it.


Somewhere in the match something went wrong and my opponent tripped over one of my legs while attempting one of his signature moves. He seemed to be upset or embarrassed this happened.


we went right to the finish which was a DDT where I was wrapped around his body with little way to protect myself and a move I’d never taken before ( I also expressed that ). I’m not sure if it was out of anger for the botched spot (which I thought in the moment) or just an error on executing the move but I was spiked right on my head and neck. Immediately I knew something was wrong. I knew I had a concussion and was worried I’d severely injured my neck. It later turned out to be just a stinger, thankfully. After the move I lied in the ring and couldn’t move for a moment and was out of it. The referee attended to me and all I could get out was “I’m fucked”. My opponent evidently asked if I was ok after the move and I couldn’t speak at the time. I slowly made my way to the locker room and was chastised by my opponent for not answering him when he asked if I was ok. Dazed and confused I tried to explain I couldn’t speak and Something was wrong. He asked if I was ok and told me in no uncertain terms not to do that again. Two wrestlers in the locker room whom I will name, Davey Richards, and Vinny Marseglia (who was also working his way up the ranks at the time) checked on me and asked if I was ok. I was clearly severely concussed and out of sorts. From what I can recall no one else checked to see if I was ok, there was no medical assistants backstage and nobody in management even asked if I was ok. And I certainly was not ok. As I was working in the undercard, though I lived 8 plus hours away, the company did not provide hotel accommodations for me.


Thankfully my mother had made the drive to come see me wrestle so I was able to get some sleep in her hotel room. The next day I got in the car with a road buddy and let him drive the entire way home. Anyone that knows me or has traveled with me knows I drive ALL of the time usually not even switching on most long trips. But I couldn’t drive, my head and neck throbbed and I slept most of the way home. This sidelined me for a couple months and I noticed a change in my mood. With the knowledge we now have I know that was consistent with complications from a concussion.


That entire year I had been used on nearly every tv taping and many live events. I reached out to management to see when I was next needed and got no response. Along this time the producer who brought me in was leaving the company. Perhaps him leaving led to me losing my position. I don’t really know. The match aired on tv in December I believe of 2012. I never watched it and don’t want to see it. I trusted my safety in another’s hands and paid a price. I trusted my producer that I would be safe when taking that move and *** would take care of me. Whether there was malicious intent I’ll never know so I won’t be throwing stones.


In summary there was absolutely no action taken from management in regard to my injury. I was never asked nor checked on a single time by any staff member.


That was my last ROH match. A match I wish I could take back. I’ve suffered a few concussions since then and due to the effects of repeated blows to the head and post-concussion syndrome, it appears at least at this time, my wrestling career is over. Is it over from that incident, no, but I have no doubt it contributed to my current condition. I’ve chosen not to name the persons involved and maybe will at another time. I never said anything or tried to rock the boat because I just wanted an opportunity. An opportunity I worked extremely hard to receive.


I was very sorry to hear about the recent struggles with kelly Klein a woman whom I’d worked with at OVW and even produced her a few times, as well as Joey Mercury whom I learned a lot from at OVW. What Kelly has stated is 100% true. Other than Baltimore where the athletic commission requires a doctor to do a simple pre-match exam, I never once received medical attention nor did I see any others. They may have, but based on what I saw, I don’t have much confidence in regard to management medically treating talent.


I suffered a severe and potentially career-ending concussion in April of 2019 working for an independent company named Viral Pro Wrestling due to a missed timed high impact move I was taking. I was not supposed to be involved in this segment, but when two talents no-showed I agreed to participate in the segment which later caused my injury. Viral Pro has not even reached out ONCE to check on me or offered any assistance as I’ve been out of work for nearly six months. I offered to participate in a backstage capacity or any non-physical role to continue to help build the company. My dates with them were canceled and haven’t heard from them since.


As I learned from my coach Rip Rogers, if you get hurt you don’t get paid. I know Independent companies operate on a shoestring budget but I think we need concussion educated and safeguards across the board. Independent wrestling is compete at your own risk, but our community needs to change and at least have medical attendants on hand.


I hope Kelly Klein and anyone else who’d been injured Or struggling with concussion-related issue makes a full recovery soon. Injuries like that change your life. They did mine. I’ve lost a lot of cognitive functions due to PCS, have severe anxiety, body tremors and depression. Most days it’s difficult for me to even leave the house.


ROH, it’s time for some changes. Wrestlers should be protected across the board. I hope Sinclair does the right thing and rectifies the situation. My injury was 7 years ago and it appears wrestlers are still not receiving adequate care. Anyone who goes out and does what we do every week, has my utmost respect. I can personally verify the statements made by Klein and former producer Adam Birch are 100% true. ROH was a great company and I’m sure with proper changes it will continue to prosper. Wrestlers protect your brain and limit moves where you will likely land on your head. You only have one brain and it cannot be replaced.


Regards,


Chris Silvio”


As you’ll see, the issues expressed by Klein, and many others including Chris Silvio have gone on for a long time with the promotion. While ROH has claimed otherwise and stated they do have safety policies in place, many talents are unaware of what those specific protocols are.

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