The odds of Daniel Bryan returning to wrestling get better every day … as he explained this week that there was a “huge, huge misunderstanding” with the test that originally forced him to retire.
Bryan discussed the situation on this week’s E&C Pod of Awesomeness and said he was originally cleared to return to action by his doctors and teams of concussion specialists assigned by WWE in Phoenix and at UCLA, but WWE officials still wouldn’t let him wrestle again.
Daniel then began experimental, non-FDA approved testing at Evoke Neuroscience in New York City that came with bad news. Doctors said he had a lesion in the back part of his brain.
Bryan said, “I’m just like, ‘Holy sh*t. A lesion.’ I’m like, ‘That’s it, I’m done. I’m finished.'”
A week later Vince McMahon asked Bryan to give his retirement speech on Monday Night Raw in Seattle. Days after his speech, he was contacted by one of the doctors who originally cleared him asking what had happened.
Bryan explained, “I told him what happened and I said, ‘They found a lesion in the temporal-parietal region of my brain.’ He goes, ‘Wait, hold up, a lesion?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ And I don’t know what lesion means to you guys, a lesion to me means you have a cut. I have a cut on my brain. He goes, ‘No. Lesion, in medical terminology, is a very vague thing. It just means something is there. We don’t know what it is, so we call it a lesion in the temporal-parietal region of your brain.'”
According to Daniel, it turns out all “lesion” meant was his reflexes in that part of the brain were slower compared to the athletes they usually tested. Compared to a normal person, Bryan was fine. “So I have average reflex time. I was like, ‘Oh no. I don’t think they understand. I’m just an average person, I’m not a real athlete!’ It’s just like, ‘Oh no, there’s been this huge, huge misunderstanding!'”
But the current GM didn’t blame the doctors at Evoke, nor did the the revelation make him want to return to wrestling. At the time he was still trying to have a baby with his wife, Brie Bella.
But once he became the general manager of Smackdown Live, the itch to return came roaring back.
“So all of a sudden I’m around it and I’m not being able to do the part that I love the most. And then they had me out there for an AJ Styles-Dean Ambrose match and it literally tore my heart apart.”
Bryan continued, “And then I was just like, ‘You know what? No. I’m not okay with this.'”
He then began working with the Joe Namath Neurological Research Center in Florida to improve his brain function. They began running tests which showed Bryan had the brain of an average college football player — banged up but not at high risk for brain damage — and thanks to the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments (HBOT) he’s been receiving, which we reported on earlier this week, his brain could be fully healthy if he undergoes more treatments.
Bryan said, “There’s this vast improvement. And Brie sees the vast improvement. And then Dr. (Barry) Miskin thinks within 120 total treatments, so 80 treatments more, that my brain could get back to where if you looked at it from any other spectrum, you would think that I’d have never done any contact sports in my entire life.”
Bryan said “there’s no reason why I can’t return to doing what I love” and hopes to come back to wrestling in a part-time, 50-100 matches a year schedule.
Check the full interview below. His concussion comments begin at the 2:02:00 mark.