Professional wrestling has a poor record of caring for athlete-artists’ health and wellbeing. The data gathered through the Health and Wellbeing in Professional Wrestling project aims to confront this issue. During the data collection process, we noted that interviewees’ reflections shifted the meaning of terms and ideas associated with wrestling but, until now, not fully understood. One such concept is risk. Wrestling has been criticised for being too risky by parents’ groups and teachers, and not risky enough by those who dismiss it as fake and phony. This article recognises that such miscomprehensions of wrestling risk have broader implications: an absence of suitable medical support, a lack of appreciation for its artistry, performing dangerous moves without professional training, and more. In order to comprehend wrestling risk in this deeper sense, this article reads it through the notion of edgework. Wrestling enables a reimagining of edgework more generally through the real-not-real spectrum, and as collaborative rather than competitive endeavor. There are broader implications here, then: a study of wrestling provides a model for comprehending the health and wellbeing benefits and challenges of contemporary risk. Finally, the article asks what difference this more nuanced and multifaceted version of risk makes to future innovations in wrestling health and wellbeing.
"When was the last time that you heard of Ian McKellen blowing out his knee,"
Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine: Vol. 8:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/survive_thrive/vol8/iss2/6