Credit: Andy Frye of ESPN.com
CHICAGO — Anyone who knows Billy Corgan’s band, The Smashing Pumpkins, knows his knack for the cutting edge, plus his role as a music innovator and multi-platinum rock ‘n’ roll legend. But Corgan is innovating again. This time in the world of sports.
“The funny thing about me that most people never really understand is that, at heart, I’m really a jock,” Corgan said.
Corgan has teamed up with the Baron Brothers to form wrestling outfit Resistance Pro, which threw down its “Black Friday” inaugural event while the rest of America recovered from extra helpings of turkey and binge shopping. Twenty-two wrestlers were featured in the Chicago affair.
But Resistance Pro isn’t just about wrestling — and what it is about might surprise you. Corgan is trying deliberately to get inside the sports world’s head, making the discussion about concussions front and center in everyone’s mind.
“I had concussions as a kid playing football and basketball,” said Corgan, who was raised in Illinois, “and know what it feels like and to have someone say ‘Just rub some dirt on it, and get back in there.’ ”
Corgan reached out to his friend, former WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski, co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute. Nowinski, who retired due to a concussion-related injury, also authored “Head Games”, which illustrates concussions as a growing public health crisis.
“I said to Chris, ‘What if we become the first wrestling company to work with SLI to make concussion safety part of our protocol?’ Alongside the talk is real action, as Resistance Pro has its athletes undergo regular concussion screening,” he said. “Injuries are nothing to be ashamed about. They happen, but you have to support the talent and not just look the other way.”