05/17/2019 01:41 pm EDT
WWE fans learned yesterday that former superstar Ashley Massaro had passed away, but the cause of death was unclear. A new report suggests that it might have been a suicide and that the star has struggled for years with depression and injuries that stemmed from her run in WWE (via The Blast). Massaro has been part of a previous class action lawsuit against WWE with 60 wrestlers accusing the company of not protecting its employees, and while the suit was initially thrown out, an appeal was successful, and it is now proceeding.
Recently an affidavit was released by Massaro's attorney Konstantine Kyros, listing the many issues Massaro had with WWE throughout her time there. In that affidavit, Massaro says she was never told of the “long-term risks associated with concussions or repeated head trauma and I had never even heard the terms of TBI or CTE mentioned.” She also says she was “literally knocked out cold for five minutes,” and added, “not only did I not receive treatment, but I was told to brush it off.”
Massaro said she “sustained multiple concussions and did not receive appropriate treatment for my injuries" from 2005 to 2008, and also said she suffered a “hairline fracture in my spine and sustained numerous back injuries,” and was “ultimately diagnosed with herniated discs in C4 and C5 of my vertebrae.”
“Aside from my on-going physical injuries that were sustained in the ring, and my former battle with addiction, to this day I suffer from depression, for which I take medication; migraine headaches; and severe short-term memory loss," Massaro wrote in the affidavit. She would also recall one specific incident in 2005 in a match with Torrie Wilson, where she received a neck breaker that left her hurt. Massaro said Trish Stratus told her to "shake it off", and while she didn't blame Stratus, explaining that “she knew from experience that I would get in trouble if I spoke up.”
“I attribute these issues to my work-related injuries sustained while working for the WWE, and specifically to the routine repetitive blows to the head, I received in the ring over the course of my career which were not properly diagnosed or treated.” Massaro strongly believes WWE failed to live up to its obligations, and “as a result, it has caused me severe and ongoing pain and suffering, emotional distress and financial hardship.”
Massaro also said that the company relied too heavily on pills, saying WWE “used narcotics as a tool to allow me and other wrestlers to perform through our injuries. If we took enough pills, the pain went away (temporarily) and we were able to wrestle.”
Massaro would add that this contributed to her becoming addicted to pain medication, and she underwent treatment for it through WWE's Former Talent Rehab program.
“I underwent treatment through that program in September of 2010. I remained in the program for 42 days.” She would thank WWE for helping to get her treatment but also criticized them for "recklessly" ignoring other things like providing monitoring and treatment for the effects of head trauma.
Nothing has been confirmed by authorities at this time, but this doesn't paint a pretty picture.