During the week of October 14-18, the Pennsylvania state House Health Committee is scheduled to consider House Bill 1649. This bill would allow the promoters of professional wrestling matches and exhibitions to oversee the physical condition of the wrestlers by employing a Certified Registered Nurse Professional (CRNP) to be in attendance during the event.
Under existing law that responsibility must be assumed by a physician. The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) strongly opposes the measure.
Even when wrestlers’ moves are largely choreographed, professional wrestling is an inherently violent form of entertainment. Participants are at risk of head trauma and concussions, spinal injuries, broken bones and damage to internal organs.
A CRNP simply doesn’t have the training and experience to quickly and accurately recognize when such an injury may have occurred, or is likely to occur if the match continues. Nor is a CRNP adequately prepared to provide the necessary on-the-spot emergency care needed if a wrestler incurs a traumatic injury.
At a time when the National Football League is placing independent neurologists on the sidelines at NFL games, it is simply wrong to reduce the level of care available to professional wrestlers at ringside. Indeed, we recommend that the committee amend the legislation to require the attendance of a physician board certified in neurology, orthopaedic surgery or emergency medicine.
The legislature’s primary concern must be the safety of the participants who take part in this fundamentally dangerous activity. For that reason, PAMED opposes House Bill 1649, and will instead work to strengthen the law by requiring the attendance of a physician board certified in a relevant specialty.
This article also appeared on the website of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.