UPDATE x 3: Here are some additional news and notes after it was announced on Tuesday afternoon that Daniel Bryan had been cleared to return to a WWE ring. According to sources, Daniel Bryan recently went to WWE’s Dr. Joseph Maroon and asked him what he needed to do in order to get cleared. Maroon reportedly gave him the names of several of the top concussion experts in the United States. Those names included Robert Cantu, Javier Cárdenas and Jeffrey Kutcher. Over the past month or so, all three of those doctors cleared him to return to the ring. Maroon then agreed to medically clear him.
For what it’s worth, an in-ring return for Daniel Bryan had been in play for a few weeks and some knew at RAW last night that Bryan would be working a match at WrestleMania 34 with Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. This suggests that the clearance was finalized prior to RAW on Monday night. Bryan has apparently had more testing done than any WWE talent in history due to his attempts to get cleared over the past few years. The current plan is to do a Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn match at WrestleMania 34.
According to sources, Bryan can now compete as much as WWE wants to use him, and as much as he’d like to work. As of this writing, there is no word on whether Bryan wants to work a full-time schedule. Prior to being cleared to return to the ring, he had talked about wanting to work a more limited schedule when he was discussing the possibility of working outside of the company. Also, now that he’s been cleared, he will likely not be looking to leave WWE once his contract expires this September. One source said if he didn’t get cleared before his contract expired, he would “absolutely be leaving” the company and would have worked the indies or in Japan/Mexico.
UPDATE x 2: The biggest news thus far this year came out on Tuesday afternoon and that is the fact that WWE doctors have finally cleared WWE SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan to return to in-ring action.
Bryan went to Dr. Maroon to find out what he needed to do to get cleared by the sports entertainment company. This led Maroon giving him a list of doctors he needed to see to be cleared. This led to him visiting with several doctors including at the University of Michigan a month ago. This is where he was cleared.
Moving along, the word going around at Monday’s RAW TV event wsas that Bryan was cleared and it’s possible he was cleared as recently as yesterday. The big thing to focus on is the fact that Bryan is cleared to wrestle as much as he wants or as much WWE needs him to wrestle.
Now, the plan is for Bryan to team up with Shane McMahon to take on Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a Tag Team Match at WrestleMania 34.
UPDATE: WWE issued the following:
Following more than two years of extensive evaluations, WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to in-ring competition by leading neurosurgeons, neurologists and concussion experts, including Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Javier Cárdenas and Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher.
Bryan underwent a full review of his medical history and received comprehensive neurological and physical evaluations independent of WWE. He was cleared by each doctor as well as WWE’s Medical Director, Dr. Joseph Maroon.
About Dr. Robert Cantu
Currently Dr. Cantu’s professional responsibilities include those of Clinical Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery and Co-Founder of the CTE Center at the Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA; Senior Advisor to the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee; Founding member, Co-Founder, Medical Director, and Chairman Medical Advisory Board Concussion Legacy Foundation, Boston, MA; Adjunct Professor Exercise and Sport Science and Medical Director National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; Co-Director, Neurologic Sports Injury Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Medical Director and Director of Clinical Research at the Cantu Concussion Center at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts; and Neurosurgical Consultant Boston Eagles football team.
Dr. Cantu consults with numerous NFL, NHL and NBA teams, and served as Neurosurgical Consultant to the Boston Cannons professional soccer team from 2003-2010. Dr. Cantu also serves on the Mackey White TBI advisory committee to the NFLPA, and on the International Rugby Board’s independent advisory group on concussion.
About Dr. Javier Cárdenas
Javier Cárdenas, MD, is a neurologist and the director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center. He is board certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Cárdenas’ expertise involves concussion, post-concussion syndrome, spinal trauma, and traumatic brain injury. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology; the National Football League Head, Neck and Spine Committee; and the Arizona Governor’s Advisory Council on Spinal and Head Injuries.
Dr. Cárdenas received his medical degree from the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He completed a residency in pediatrics at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and trained in child neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Cárdenas created the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, which is the nation’s most comprehensive concussion prevention, treatment, and education program. He also created Barrow Brainbook, which Arizona high school students must complete to participate in school sports. It is the first mandated online concussion education and testing tool for student athletes in the country.
About Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher
Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher is a board-certified neurologist, specializing in sports neurology, including concussion, post-concussion syndrome, and the long-term effects of sports on athlete brain health. He serves as the National Director of The Sports Neurology Clinic. Dr. Kutcher is currently the Team Neurologist for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association and served as the Team Neurologist for the United States Olympic Team at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia and in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
He is the Director of the National Basketball Association’s concussion program and works as an advisor to the Players’ Associations of both the National Football League and the National Hockey League. He has also helped develop the concussion policies of the NCAA, several collegiate athletic programs and conferences, as well as local and national youth sport organizations.
About Dr. Joseph Maroon
Joseph C. Maroon, MD, is the Medical Director for WWE. Dr. Maroon is a board-certified clinical professor of neurological surgery and Vice Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He is also the Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience. He is Team Neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers and a member of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee for concussion.