Former ECW, WCW and WWE favorite Perry Saturn was interviewed for Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard column recently. He spoke about his Traumatic Brain Injury and how he's recovering--with a little help from his friends.
On being diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury:
“Last January, I got a migraine, and it was the worst pain I ever had. I went to the hospital, and they ended up keeping me in extensive care for three days. They did a bunch of tests on me while I was there, and the doctor told me that he thought it was T.B.I.—a traumatic brain injury. Since then, I’ve seen neurologists, and that’s the diagnosis. The actual diagnosis is moderate traumatic brain injury, but moderate is a lot worse than how it sounds. If anybody’s ever had a migraine, they know it’s not a headache. I get them quite frequently now, and I’m starting to have memory loss. I get confused—I don’t notice it, but my wife does, and then she’ll talk to me about it. Later, I won’t even know I talked to her about it and won’t remember any of that.
This is still new to the doctors, so I don’t know about recovery. They have treatments for it, but I don’t know if there is really hope for recovery yet. It’s all from my work in the ring and all the concussions I’ve had. Concussions are very common for the wrestlers. You don’t take days off, so I’ve wrestled with concussions—that was part of wrestling. I’ve had more than ten, but I don’t know the number. Figure ECW, WCW, and WWE when I did their hardcore s—, I was always getting hit in the head with chairs.”
On getting help from his old buddy Chris Jericho, who donated $5,000 to his Go-Fund-Me page:
Chris is amazing, and we go back a long time. Chris, John Kronus, and I used to travel to Japan together over twenty years ago. It’s amazing how guys come out of the woodwork when they hear something is wrong, and he wanted to help.
The competitiveness stopped in all of the locker rooms I worked. Everybody gets along in the locker room, for the most part. We were all hungry in ECW trying to build something, but I had the same group of friends in ECW, WCW, and WWE. The boys all stick together no matter where you’re at. You’re putting your body in someone else’s hands, and you trust each other with your body. We were lucky. We worked hard, and Paul E. [Heyman] took good care of us. John was a good time, he was just a nut. A lot of the guys in wrestling are nuts, but they’re good guys. John and I were together forever. We lived together, worked out together, and were roommates. John was just a big, happy-go-lucky guy, always having a good time.
On his memories of working for Vince and the origins of "Moppy":
"You’d always hear horror stories about working for Vince, but Vince was always cool with me. I have no complaints with Vince. He always treated me fairly, he talked to me respectfully. I have nothing but respect for Vince McMahon. He works harder than any boss I’ve ever seen.
“Moppy” started as a punishment, but it worked out because the character got over. I worked with a guy named Mike Bell, and he accidentally put me on my head twice in the match. He did not do it deliberately, but it just knocked me out on my feet. I blacked out and just beat the sh-- out of him and didn’t even realize it. WWE was pissed, and when I explained to them what happened, I explained that I was out on my feet and I didn’t really know what I did.
“Moppy” came out of my explanation to where they used it like a punishment-type thing. I didn’t want to do it, but you have to do what they want to do, but it ended up getting over for them."
On the possibility of the WWE helping with his recovery:
"I don’t think WWE thinks this is their concern. They do with their own employees, and I’m not even sure what they do. Just recently, the NFL started to accept responsibility for their former players. I just don’t think that, unless WWE is forced to accept the responsibility, that they are going to help. I don’t think they’ll ever accept responsibility unless they are forced to."
On his recovery back from his TBI:
“I’d be lost without the people helping me, and that starts with my wife Lisa. If I hadn’t listened to her, I would not even realize I had this problem I have. I wouldn’t realize I was doing things and not know I was doing them. With the fans, they have nothing but kind things to say to me, which helps when I feel so lost dealing with this problem. I can’t say thank you enough.”