Former WWE wrestler Ashley Massaro was worried repeated trauma to her head caused long-term damage that led to habitual depression, and people who were close to the late-star are hoping her brain will be donated to science and possibly save lives in the future.
Attorney Konstantine Kyros, who represented Massaro in her ongoing lawsuit against the WWE, tells us, "It is imperative that her family agrees to donate brain tissue to Dr. Omalu see if she had CTE," adding, "She would be one of the first female Athletes studied for the disease."
Dr. Bennet Omalu is the famous forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who first discovered evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in NFL players, and was portrayed by Will Smith in the movie, "Concussion."
Kyros says, "To date six of my other clients including Jimmy Snuka, Balls Mahoney, Mr Fuji have been studied and diagnosed with CTE, the WWE needs to come clean about this health crisis, protect its athletes and acknowledge the existence of CTE in pro wrestlers."
He is adamant that Massaro's death could be a watershed moment for CTE research in wrestling, and believes it could be the "Junior Seau moment of wrestling."
Seau, a Hall of Fame linebacker who played for the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots, infamously shot himself in the chest in 2012 at the age of 43 and was posthumously diagnosed with CTE.
As we reported, Massaro died of an apparent suicide after battling injuries and depression for years. She attributed the ongoing health issues with "routine repetitive blows" she suffered while wrestling with WWE, and claims the organization did not train her properly or provide enough information about long-term health issues.
In her affidavit, Massaro detailed her injuries and claimed, "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."
Kyros believes, "Out of this enormous tragedy perhaps others can be helped with appropriate medical care and education. Ashely was clearly struggling with many of the neurological symptoms we see in athletes and was trying to get help from the WWE when she died."
After Massaro's death, WWE put up many tributes about the former star and said, "We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro. WWE offers its condolences to Ashley’s family and friends."
The wrestling organization also told us Massaro allegedly reached out to apologize last year for taking part in the lawsuit against the company.
We're told Kyros has not been in touch with Massaro's family yet, but hopes they see how important the research could be, and allow her brain to be studied.
In the hours after Massaro's death, her daughter Alexa posted a very sad message: "I love you Mommy I want to wake up in your arms more than anything I want to give u a big hug please come back this cant be real."
Other wrestlers have expressed their sympathy since Massaro's death, like the Bella Twins, who said, "She had such a tender heart and sweet soul. We will always remember her of that."
Trish Stratus, who actually wrestled with Massaro, revealed, "I was her first suplex, I stood alongside her as she took her first steps of her wrestling career... What a sport, a total pro and she loved every minute in the ring - and I loved living it with her, through her wide eyes of the newness of it all."