Adam Cole Reveals He Used To Cry For No Reason, Had Memory Issues Following Consecutive Concussions
Adam Cole recently returned to AEW after concussion issues
The road back to All Elite Wrestling has been a long and gruelling one for Adam Cole, with Cole recently returning to AEW after over six months on the shelf due to concussion issues.
Cole last visibly suffered a severe concussion during a four-way match for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door in June 2022 - a match he went into hurt - and during a recent interview with Wrestling Observer Radio, Cole revealed the effects that multiple concussions had on him:
“I think that was definitely the scariest process, aside from the fact that, again, 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. The first three weeks to a month, you’re like, ‘Okay, I’m recovering, I’m just healing. I’m gonna be fine. I’m not gonna have any side effects. Everything will be great.’ The crazy thing was that after even a month, it was like that’s when real serious side effects started happening. 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.
“For me, I have a tendency lots of times where, when I get bad news, I just assume the worst. I 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, I can’t be in a car for more than 15 minutes, and it’s been two months. How am I ever gonna get into a wrestling ring again? But fortunately, I’ve said this before too, but the doctors that I had around me - AEW by the way was fantastic through this entire process. It was like I barely had to think, it was like so many things were set up for me that, in the middle of all this, where I was seeing doctors like three times a week, they just wanted to make sure I was healthy and feeling okay. I was constantly being checked on. So in that sense it was wonderful, but again, I did have a genuine fear of, I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to do this. I’m 33 years old, and I’m not even close to wanting to be done with wrestling yet. So it was scary," revealed Cole.
Cole revealed that he was pretty banged up going into Forbidden Door:
"In a lot of ways, I’ll go back even earlier, where I kind of felt like, even day to day, I felt pretty banged up in general. I was doing okay, and I wrestled sore, and I worked for months being banged up. A lot of wrestlers have, obviously. That’s just part of what we do. But I kind of noticed that certain things weren’t adding up correctly. For example, when I re-injured my shoulder, I had 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. I’m just warming up. This was 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. I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ A few weeks after that is the Owen Hart final with Samoa Joe, and again, nothing particularly caught me or got me. There was no moment where I was like, ‘Oh, this is what did it for me.’ 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, like my legs didn’t feel like they were working correctly, I just felt like I was walking weird, my balance was off. Then after that match, again, immediately, the doctors thought something was up. I got tested, they said that I had a head injury there. So again, normally, after that, I thought everything was okay," Cole said.
Despite these initial concerns, Cole revealed that he passed every test heading into Forbidden Door, with Cole believing everything was ok as a result:
"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.’ Then again, at the Forbidden Door matchup, the strangest thing about 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. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, okay. That felt a little strange.’ 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 after my memory started going that something was wrong. Once again, got to the back and got checked out.
"That one was really scary because they were so close to each other. It wasn’t just scary because of how close they were to each other. But what really scared me a lot, and this was part of where the concern of if I’m gonna be able to wrestle again came from, is I didn’t do anything insane. It wasn’t this dramatic move or this insanely dangerous move that I had taken. It was 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. 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 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. It was definitely the scariest part of my career, I think, in the 15 years I’ve been doing this," he said.
The injuries certainly took a mental toll on Cole as well as a physical one, with Cole revealing how he would randomly start crying at times during his recovery;
"As far as emotionally, what I was going through, obviously I think the head injury played a part in how I was feeling, especially early on, the first few months. I know I talked with Britt [Baker] about this before, but there would be times where, for no reason, I would just start crying. She would ask me what’s wrong or what’s happened, and I genuinely would look at her, and I meant it, and I would say, ‘I don’t know. I have no idea why I’m so emotional.’
"Aside from the head injury side effects, again, my entire life has been devoted to pro wrestling. When I was nine years old, that’s all I ever wanted to do, and getting to have the career that I’ve had is something that I’ll cherish forever. I love pro wrestling more than anything in the world, and the idea of imagining that that could be over at such a young age or at such an important part of my career, was devastating to me. But then I would go back and forth and say, ‘No, I have a great team of doctors around me. I am working as hard as I possibly can every single day to make sure that I get back. I’m gonna do it. This is just another speed bump, and I’m gonna get through it.’
"Early on, there were a lot of ups and downs in that sense. But for me, there were a couple of months, but the big one is, and I won’t go into crazy detail, but long story short, there was a test I had to take two months after that second head injury, and that test, I scored so poorly that there was a concern of whether or not I could even drive. That was two months after the second head injury, so that was absolutely devastating. 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 gonna be able to get in the ring again. But after a few, it was probably two, two-and-half months after that, I took the test again, and I passed it with flying colours. Not only did I meet the average, but I exceeded the average. When I saw that and the reaction from the doctor I was working with, her excitement as well, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, we’re gonna do this. We’re gonna make this happen. I’m gonna be able to get back into the ring.’ So the one test I had to take for my brain, when I eventually passed that test, that was so, so incredible to get that news at that point because again, you’re scared about losing the thing that you love the most. So that was a point where I was like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna make this happen. This is gonna work,'" Cole said.