Wrestler Big E was taken to hospital on Friday night after landing on his neck during a belly-to-belly suplex from his opponent Ridge Holland at WWE Smackdown, and has been keeping fans apprised of his situation via social media.
“I can move all my digits,” he said in a Twitter video. “Strength feels fine. But unfortunately right now they tell me my neck is broken, so there’s that.”
In a new video on his YouTube channel, sports medicine expert Dr. Brian Sutterer says that Big E is also fortunate not to appear to have suffered any neurological damage during his injury, before taking a closer look at the footage of the incident itself.
“The suplex is a really dangerous moved if not performed correctly, and here you can see that Big E just doesn’t rotate over enough to where he lands more square on his back with his neck tucked forward,” he says. “Here he doesn’t rotate enough, so as he lands he gets this extreme axial compressive force, basically going directly from the ground straight into the top of his head, compressing those bones of the cervical spine.”
He adds that Big E may have also sustained a concussion as a result of that blow to the head, and goes on to explain that these kinds of injury are largely the reason that spear tackling has been made illegal in sports like American football and rugby.
Big E has subsequently posted another update revealing that his C-1 and C-6 discs are fractured, but there is no damage to his spinal cord or ligaments, meaning no surgery is necessary, and he remains upbeat.
“As bad as a broken neck sounds, they don’t always require surgery,” says Sutterer. “Depending on where the fracture is… sometimes they can simply be treated by wearing a hard cervical collar, which we saw Big E already wearing.”
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