Originally published at Adam Cole opens up about concussions, says of his return promo: “All of that was true and more”
Adam Cole has spoken of his “scary” journey of recovery after sustaining two concussions.
Cole, 33, said that his in-ring return promo when he spoke of not being able to drive and crying for no reason, was completely true.
He made the comments in an interview with Dave Meltzer and Garrett Gonzales for Wrestling Observer Radio.
Cole said of his current physical state:
I still have a little ways to go until I get to a point where I think I’m ready to rock and roll as far as going in the ring and having a 30 or 45-minute match. But as far as how I’m feeling again, compared to even two and a half, three months ago, I feel fantastic.
On the length of his stint on the sidelines, he added:
It’s been like six months since I had had a match. So and I was going back and thinking about my career and over the 15-year career that I’ve had, I think the longest amount of time I was ever away from the road in any capacity was like a month, a month and a half, because there was a point where I injured my shoulder very early on and I had to get surgery but I was still, like, a month later back on the road and still doing stuff and being around wrestling to travel.
So being actually away for that amount of time, I kept trying to focus on all the positives and one of the things I kept telling myself was okay this has got to be great for my body to give myself a second to kind of recuperate and heal.
Turning to the ups and downs of his lengthy recovery period, he stated:
Any time you get a head injury, it’s always a little bit scary. But for me, the scariest part was after like a month had gone by because the first three weeks to a month, you’re like, “Okay, I’m just recovering. I’m just healing. I’m going to be fine. I’m not going to have any side effects. Everything will be great.”
And then the crazy thing was that after even a month, it was like that’s when real serious side-effects started happening. Like again, literally everything I said in my return in-ring promo that I did, all of that was true and more.
There was a lot of stuff that was happening very late into the healing process or what I thought was late, like a month and a half, two months. But I was genuinely very, very nervous and really afraid that I might be told I’m not allowed to wrestle again.
But for me, I have a tendency lots of times where when I get bad news, I just assume the worst. I like mentally prepare myself to go, okay, I’m gonna have to deal with this new chapter of my life. Of course, I had the hope and dream of being able to get back in there. But just with all the news I was getting, how I was feeling, I’m like, “Oh my God, how am I —I can’t be in a car for more than 15 minutes, and it’s been two months. How am I ever going to get into a wrestling ring again”
Winding back the clock to his series of injuries, Cole described how he felt his body was beginning to feel strange long before his time off:
I just got done with the Hangman Page matchup at the pay-per-view, and I’m warming up getting ready for another match. And I just felt this sharp pain in my shoulder. And I didn’t understand what it was. And I’m just warming up this before I even got out there. And then I went and got it checked out. And there was a partial tear in my labrum and a strained rotator cuff just from warming up. And I’m like, “What is going on?”
And then a few weeks after that is the Owen Hart final with Samoa Joe. And again, nothing particularly like caught me or got me there was no moment where I was like, “Oh, this is what did it for me.”
And all of a sudden, I just noticed that my body was not moving correctly with what my brain was telling it to do. I remember everything, but I remember being so confused that I like my legs didn’t feel like they were working correctly. I just felt like I was walking weird, my balance was off. And then after that match, again, immediately, the doctors thought something was up, I got tested, they said that I had a head injury there.
On the events of Forbidden Door, Cole said:
I had taken a few weeks off getting ready for Forbidden Door. I had passed every single test I had to take. So I thought, “Oh, I’m good to go.” And then again, this is at the Forbidden Door matchup, the strangest thing about that is I remember feeling really good. I had taken a bump where I felt a little bit weird, but it wasn’t anybody’s fault. It was a normal bump. And I remember thinking, “Oh, okay, that felt a little strange.”
And about 30 seconds go by. And then it’s like I have no recollection or memory of what I’m supposed to do, what happened in the match. The memory stuff is the really, really scary part to me.
When you’re in the middle of a ring and there’s thousands of people around you and I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing, that was really scary. So I knew pretty early on, or not pretty early on in the match, but pretty early on after my memory started going that something was wrong.
And then, once again, got to the back and got checked out. And that one was really scary because they were so close to each other. So it wasn’t just scary because of how close they were to each other. But what really scared me a lot, and this is part of where the concern of if I am going to be able to wrestle again came from, is, once again, that I didn’t take anything insane. It wasn’t this dramatic move or this insanely dangerous move that I had taken.
And it was like a standard pro wrestling match where now I’m at a point where I can’t remember what I’m supposed to be doing, where I am or what’s going on. So that really created a lot of fear in me and I think a lot of fear in a lot of the doctors as well.
So yeah, that’s kind of what happened. It felt like this domino effect of first it was the shoulder, then it was the head, then it was okay, let’s rest three or four weeks and then it was the head again.
And so that was, it was definitely the scariest part of my career, I think, in the 15 years I’ve been doing this.
He outlined that, two months after the second blow to the head, he took a test:
I scored so poorly, that there was a concern of whether or not I could even drive. And that was two months after the second head injury. So that was absolutely devastating.
And I remember thinking, “Oh, my God, this is real. This could potentially be something that I deal with forever, or potentially this could be something where I’m not going to be able to get in the ring again.”
Turning to receiving better news, he added:
But two and a half months after that, I took the test again, and I passed it with flying colors. Not only did I meet the average, but I exceeded the average. And when I saw that, and the reaction from the doctor I was working with, and her excitement as well, I’m like, “Oh, my God, we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna make this happen, I’m going to be able to get back into the ring.” So that one test I had to take for my brain, when I eventually passed that test, that was like, so incredible to get that news at that point.
Elsewhere in the interview, Cole spoke of the support of his wife Britt Baker:
I don’t think I would have been able to get through the entire process if it wasn’t for her, just because of how helpful and supportive she was. But I definitely think the fact that we’re both wrestlers and we both wrestle for the same company, she understood at a deeper level how hard this would be and how challenging it was specifically for me.
So I think she would have been there no matter what, but I definitely think her being a wrestler for AEW made her understand the severity of how, I guess, damaging this was for me and how tough it was.
He also offered an update on the recovery of his real-life good friend Kyle O’Reilly:
I talk to him every day. He’s doing good. Kyle’s doing really well. Again, he’s in a situation now where, again, he’s working so hard to make sure that he gets healthy as soon as he possibly can, but at the same time making sure that he doesn’t rush back because Kyle was really banged up and it got to a point where he kind of couldn’t take it anymore.
And I’m so, so glad that he got fixed and he got healthy and he’s recovering day by day, every day.
Early on in the process, I think he was really discouraged because there was so little that he was able to do. But now, as time goes on and he’s starting to be able to do more and more in therapy and rehab and stuff like that, you see that excitement and the wheels turning of him already thinking about how he can’t wait to get back. But he’s in good spirits and he’s got a lot of people around him that love him a lot.