Lionheart’s Death – Another Premature Death in the Industry

At the young age of 36, the British legend, Adrian McCallum, better known as Lionheart, passed away. He has featured in the TNA and WWE and was also the reigning world heavyweight champion in Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW). The young wrestling star from Ayr in Scotland was for the last decade under the top wrestlers of the world and probably one of the best-known wrestlers in the UK.

Wrestlers Dying Young at a Shocking Rate

His death was the tenth of young wrestlers all passing away before 40. This is raising questions regarding why so many wrestlers in the prime of their lives pass away. Some say that the sport is cursed, but a more realistic approach reveals many different reasons. Wrestlers die due to various causes from heart attacks to suicide. Studies found that the death rate for wrestlers between 45 and 54 are significantly higher than in any other age group. The number of wrestlers passing away early in life is also much more significant than in any different kind of sport.

No Time to Rest in This Profession

Wrestling is a strenuous sport on both body and mind. In the world of professional wrestling, there is however no official period for rest or off-season. This results in wrestlers often being back fighting again, before their injuries have had a proper time to heal. According to a psychotherapist, Gary Bloom, the result of continued daily wrestling without any rest days are creating havoc with your health. Wrestlers are for long periods exposed to an over-stimulated limbic system. This is the centre in the brain where the flight or fight response is generated. If you are always in this condition due to spending many hours in the ring, it is bound to catch up with you.

Another concern towards your health is being in a state where you are for long and regular periods exposed to an adrenaline overload. Physically your organs can’t handle to be exposed to so much adrenaline for such long periods. The human body can only benefit from short spurts of adrenaline due to the real rush of fight or flight. In the ring, these conditions are created, and in the end, your organs give in under stress. Proper resting periods are needed regularly to recuperate from every adrenaline overload. The industry, however, doesn’t allow for that.


Another health risk in the wrestling world is also the use of alcohol, steroids and drugs. The additional stress of travelling and constant appearances can be detrimental to the mental health of these wrestlers. In recent years the industry had to mourn many young stars. These include Eddie Guerrero passing away in 2005 due to a heart attack at the age of 38, Brain Pillman at the age of 35, Owen Hart at 34 and Yokozuna also at 34. How many more will have to pay this high price before industry changes are made to accommodate these wrestlers’ mental and physical health?