Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

Verne Gagne Linked To Man's Death


Bob Morris
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/ve...ect_feb_18_2009

 

BLOOMINGTON - An 82-year-old Minnesotan wrestling legend is under investigation after the death of his 97-year-old roommate.

 

Police believe that Verne Gagne may have contributed to the January death of Helmut R. Gutmann, who lived with him in the Bloomington living facility, Friendship Village. Gagne and 97-year-old Gutmann, who both suffer from Alzheimer's-related dementia, allegedly got into a fight on Jan. 26 that led to Gutmann's death.

 

Gutmann suffered a broken leg and a head injury in the fight. He was hospitalized, then released, but then was re-hospitalized due to complications. Four days ago, Gutmann died.

 

Bloomington Police are investigating the death as suspicious, after being contacted by an elderly rights group.

 

A manner of death has not officially been determined.

 

It's unknown if Gagne would ever be charged because of his mental state. He has been dismissed from the living facility.

Anyone think we're about to get into more media stories about dementia, Alzheimer's Disease and how they are linked to concussions and the like? And how likely may it have been that Verne may have suffered from multiple concussions during his wrestling career, even when he wrestled during a time when wrestlers weren't known for taking frequent blows to the head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My question is, why the hell were the police contacted only after the guy died, by "an elderly rights group"? That's at least neglectful if not downright obstructing justice for the nursing home to not contact the cops right away about an assault which put one of their patients in the hospital, let alone a possible murder days later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've worked in ElderCare for nearly twenty years, with Alzheimer's/ Dementia care being my main focus. When one confused resident knocks down another confused resident we never call the police. It's considered something that happens in these facilities. We try to take every precaution for these things to NOT happen, and when they do, the amount of paperwork we fill out and file with State officials and organizations is huge. What strikes me as odd, is that Verne had been discharged from this facility for a previous incident, and was then allowed back in. The fact is, Police are almost never called when one demented resident gets into a scuffle with another. In this case, the man's fall seems to have led to his passing and that's a tragedy.

It's not an obstruction of Justice, the fact is the police know that these things happen. No police officer is going to haul away a demented 83 year old Alzheimer's victim after he/ she gets into a fight with another resident.

 

About 15 years ago, we had a woman, out of nowhere, grab a wheelchair footstand and bash another woman in the face with it. It was completely random, there was no sign it was building, she just "went". Gladly, the Victim didn't die, and only had a broken cheek and bruised up face. We had to contact the families, and as a team we decided that the woman who assaulted the other, needed to be in a senior Psych facility.

 

From http://www.f4wonline.com/

 

Verne Gagne, one of the most influential pro wrestlers in history, is alleged to have thrown down 97-year-old Helmut Gutmann, on Jan. 26, breaking his hip and Gutmann later passed away over the weekend.

 

Both at the time were residing in a facility in Bloomington, MN, which treats patients with Alzheimer's and dementia.

 

Gagne, a week shy of his 83rd birthday, is believed to have thrown Guttman down hard on the ground, and nobody knows exactly what caused the incident at the memory loss unit. Guttman was at first hospitalized, then released, but his condition deteriorated and he died in hospice care according to an article in the MinnPost.

 

Gagne is no longer a resident at the facility. The newspaper reported Gagne had been kicked out of the facility due to an incident previously and at the time was allowed to return.

 

It's a tragic story because Gagne would have absolutely no idea of what he had done. Gutmann's wife Betty said she was notified about what happened in the 1/26 incident and found her husband lying on the floor in tremendous pain.

 

"You can't blame the person that did it," she said. "(Verne Gagne) doesn't know what he's doing. I feel so sorry for his family, bcause they are faced with a terrible problem of what to do."

 

The story quoted someone only identified as one of Gagne's daughters, who described it as a personal family matter and that nobody is saying that is the reason the man ended up dying.

 

Gagne was one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling history. A two-time NCAA champion, who turned down an NFL offer to become a pro wrestler, was United States champion for Fred Kohler's Chicago-based promotion which had national television in the early 50s, making him one of the highest paid athletes in the country during that period.

 

He later purchased controlling interest in the Minneapolis Boxing and Wrestling Club from Tony Stecher, withdrew the promotion from the National Wrestling Alliance when he was bypassed in the selection of the world heavyweight champion, and created the American Wrestling Association, where he was both promoter and usually top babyface for much of the period from 1960 until his retirement as a full-time wrestler in 1981.

 

The AWA expanded from Minneapolis throughout the Midwest, and because it was a successful area that paid well, but had a limited schedule, many considered it the promotion where wrestlers had the highest quality of life. The promotion was successful until 1985, when its dated presentation was exposed by Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation and Jim Crockett Promotions. The promotion quickly lost its popularity and limped to its death a few years later.

 

After negotiating a deal to sell his tape collection to McMahon, Gagne was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He had been suffering for years with Alzheimer's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People with dementia/Alzheimer's frequently revert to their previous careers when the disease progresses. My mom worked at a nursing home with an Alzheimer's patient who was a former heavyweight boxer. Despite the fact he was an old man, he still KO'd a few nurses' aides before my mom realized in his mind he was back in the boxing ring. She talked to him like she was his corner man and that's how she was able to put him to bed.

 

Most likely Verne and the other guy had a disagreement and Verne's mind went back to his wrestling days and did what he was trained to do when faced with someone trying to "shoot" on you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People with dementia/Alzheimer's frequently revert to their previous careers when the disease progresses. My mom worked at a nursing home with an Alzheimer's patient who was a former heavyweight boxer. Despite the fact he was an old man, he still KO'd a few nurses' aides before my mom realized in his mind he was back in the boxing ring. She talked to him like she was his corner man and that's how she was able to put him to bed.

 

Most likely Verne and the other guy had a disagreement and Verne's mind went back to his wrestling days and did what he was trained to do when faced with someone trying to "shoot" on you.

I've worked with a couple of Ex Boxers as well. One I'll call "Paul". Never really had a problem with him and his dementia was advanced, he did once try to hit another male resident who was attacking a nurse's aide and I stopped him cause he was still fucking jacked in his early Eighties. From what I read here, Verne threw the guy down. That doesn't exactly mean that he thought he was wrestling. I currently work with a dementia resident who was a fighter at one point who had a fight with Floyd Patterson, he's totally docile and never violent with staff or other residents. Alzheimer's and related dementia is totally unpredictable and is unique as each person it strikes is unique. More often then not, it's a stronger resident getting upset at another resident for whatever reason, imagined or real, and they grab the other resident and push them. When a 97 year old resident takes a fall with injury, it's common that a rapid decline to expiration happens. If it's a guy who probably tried to stay in decent physical shape his whole life, like Verne, or an ex Boxer, etc..we as staff need to be alert, but we can't be everywhere at all times, and the days of doping them all up or restraining them are long gone, thank God.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the details here Johnny. Though I would still question why the facility still failed to contact the police even after the man's death. Is that common practice?

 

Also, why the hell was a man who had as much money as Verne Gagne not only in a nursing home, but in one cheap enough that he had a roommate?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the details here Johnny. Though I would still question why the facility still failed to contact the police even after the man's death. Is that common practice?

 

Also, why the hell was a man who had as much money as Verne Gagne not only in a nursing home, but in one cheap enough that he had a roommate?

It all depends on what the actual cause of death was. If a resident actually beat someone to death, the police of course would be notified. But this actual death was brought on by a fall caused by another dementia patient. Falls accelerate expiration be they caused by another dementia resident or a mistimed step. To be clear, when something like this happens we contact the Ombudsman and provide a detailed report. The Ombudsman then conducts an investigation and determines if a criminal investigation is warrented.

 

As far as Verne and money goes, who knows? But Elder Care is INCREDIBLY expensive. I've had patients who were extremely wealthy, many of whom had roommates. Sometimes there's some family goings on to hold onto as much of a person's estate as possible, as ElderCare can dry up a personal fortune.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There has been some really good information regarding Alzheimer's and dementia shared.

 

While I would tend to agree that pro wrestling itself isn't going to get hammered for this, I do think it's worth looking closer at what can lead to a brain injury and how it might impact somebody later in life. It's interesting to note how a couple of patients brought up were former boxers, that Verne Gagne was a wrestler and that we hear about several former football players who ended up with Alzheimer's or dementia. Ronald Reagan, in fact, played football in high school and college.

 

In looking up stuff regarding brain injuries, I ran across a very interesting article about a woman who got a brain injury from a minor auto accident. It's a long article, so I'll just provide the link and won't C&P anything.

 

http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/health/3937.html

 

Chris Nowinski's website also has some interesting information. It's really interesting to see how much he and others have researched the effects of brain injuries and concussions and the problems they can lead to down the road.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as Verne and money goes, who knows? But Elder Care is INCREDIBLY expensive. I've had patients who were extremely wealthy, many of whom had roommates. Sometimes there's some family goings on to hold onto as much of a person's estate as possible, as ElderCare can dry up a personal fortune.

That, and I doubt Verne is actually "rich-rich" at this stage... in fact, I would bet he was living a very average life before he needed Elder Care. He lost almost everything if not everything just trying to keep the AWA afloat near the end, and that was 20 years ago. All the property he had and everything else is gone now. I don't think he has done anything since 1991 that would put money back in his pocket to the degree he would be considered "rich" again.

 

I would guess that it's probably costing his family a ton of their own scratch to provide that sort of care. I have always doubted the $3 million figure that he allegedly got for the sale of his tape library to Vince, too, for those about to point at that. I don't think it was anywhere near that high of a price tag.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...