16 November 2016
Pro-wrestling is as dangerous as it looks on TV. The blows and kicks to the head, the metal chair hits to the bowel and head are all going to have a telling effect on the men and women taking the hits.
The effects seem to have caught up with ex pro-wrestler, Big Van Vader, who announced that he has been given less than two years to live as his heart has worn out.
Vader, whose real name is Leon White, broke the news to fans on his official Twitter account late Monday night when he tweeted: “Told by 2 heart Drs at this time that my heart is wore out from football & wrestling I have 2 yrs to live, conjestive hesrt [sic] failure reality.”
The ex-wrestler didn’t only have a career in pro-wrestling, he also played pro football for LA Rams in 1970s.
While playing football, Vander was a standout. He played center on his high school team and was recruited by a number of top colleges, eventually joining the squad at the University of Colorado.
He was so good that he got drafted in 1978 to play offensive line for the Los Angeles Rams. Following a number of injuries, White left football.
The injury forced Vander to look into wrestling as a possible alternative career. He rose to international fame in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), where he memorably feuded with Stan Hansen.
During one infamous match, Hansen knocked White’s eye loose from its socket.
He eventually returned to the U.S., joining World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He won the organization’s World Heavyweight Championship multiple times, and feuded with top stars like Sting and Cactus Jack.
White joined WWE, then WWF, in 1996. He fought for the Heavyweight Championship and Tag Team Championship, but was unsuccessful in obtaining either.
Since then, White has worked for various organizations around the world, including a return to AJPW and TNA. He also briefly returned to WWE in 2005.