The shit has hit the proverbial fan.  I was diagnosed today with a herniated disc between my C6-C7 vertebrae by top sports physician Tuomo Karila in Helsinki at Dextra Sports Clinic.

Preparing for my MRI scan at Helsinki's Dextra Sports Clinic today

Preparing for my MRI scan at Helsinki’s Dextra Sports Clinic today

The injury itself happened as a freak occurrence on August 3rd, as I was training upcoming Finnish pro wrestling hopefuls at FCF Wrestling’s training center in Kellokoski, Finland.  I suffered whiplash in one of the training exercises, and I felt a sharp pain in my upper trapezius and neck after my sparring partner sent me chest-first into the ring corner buckles.  I continued the training exercise, disregarding what had just happened.  The next day, I continued coaching my class, and the pain intensified in my injured region.  I thought that adequate rest would suffice to heal whatever momentary strain had been incurred, but I could not have been more wrong.  I went on a short vacation with my wife Diana in western Finland near the city of Pori, and during last week, the pain spread to my left arm and ached so bad that it kept me awake at night.  Last Thursday, as we were driving back to Helsinki through Turku, I had to make an emergency stop at Turku’s main hospital, as the agony was unbearable.  On Friday last week, I made plans to see Dr. Karila, as I could no longer cope with my physical condition.  However, I had a match in Rovaniemi, Finland at the 2013 edition of the Simerock Festival last Saturday, where I wrestled in a tag team main event alongside “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä against Stark Adder and FCF champion King Kong Karhula.  My injury was further aggrevated during that outing, although I tried my best to play it safe.

This news puts a real damper on my upcoming BWA (British Wrestling Alliance) Catchweight title defense against the USA’s 190kg monster Cannonball Grizzly in Kotka, Finland on August 24 at FCF Wrestling’s Rock & Wrestling Rampage at Route 66.  Dr. Karila told me that I would be risking paralysis if I stepped into the ring to grapple with my neck in this current condition.  Of course, I got scared good and proper, and there is no way that I would be willing to put my health at unnecessary risk.  I am not willing to look at ending up like one of my old wrestling idols, Tom Billington aka The Dynamite Kid, who has already spent the last 20-years in a wheelchair following the end of his wrestling career.

The fact is that right now, I am looking at a herniated disc between my C6 and C7 vertebrae.  I have been unable to sleep for almost two weeks, due to the 24/7 pain that courses through my left arm, numbing my index and middle fingers.  My left shoulder blade and upper trapezius feels like a smoldering fire has set into it, and I really do not wish this anguish on even my worst enemy.  All I can say is, that I hope the Good Lord above has mercy on my predicament.

The MRI scan shows the damage to my neck

The MRI scan shows the damage to my neck

Dr. Karila himself is a former wrestler (albeit not a pro wrestler like myself) and he has acted as the official doctor of the Finnish Olympic wrestling team in the past, so you can guess that he knows his stuff.  When the doctor told me to just sit out for six to ten weeks, I took it pretty hard.  After all, I am an athlete, and a top athlete at that in my chosen sport.  It is not easy for me to turn away bookings and walk away from active competition.  At heart, I am a warrior, and my blood calls me to fight.  That said, right now, my battle is with my physical well-being.

The following video documentation of my injury and MRI was filmed by director Oskari Pastila, who has been filming a documentary entitled Spandex Sapiens, about my wrestling career and persona, over the past four years (the film will be out in early 2014):

I am chagrined to forfeit my title match in Kotka on August 24 with Cannonball Grizzly.  FCF Wrestling will find a suitable replacement main event for Rock & Wrestling Rampage at Route 66, and you can bet that Cannonball Grizzly will have the fight of his life on his hands once FCF officials have deemed his opponent for the event.  Down the road, once I am healthy, I look forward to getting another chance to face the American behemoth Grizzly, whether it is for the title or just for personal honor.

Cannonball Grizzly stands 188cm and weighs 190kg

Cannonball Grizzly stands 188cm and weighs 190kg

Thank you for your support in this trying time.  Your prayers are appreciated.

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