Taking the bump of brain injury

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes There is one memory of his budding pro wrestling career that survived Thomas Lucas’ traumatic brain injury: getting a piledriver from the vertically-challenged Dink the Clown. “He showed up while I was in Portland and he was one of the main coaches for the pro wrestling school there. He was teaching us how to take a head bump like when someone’s piledriving you,” said Lucas, 25. A “bump” is pro wrestling parlance for a fall. Lucas’ path to this point in his life has had many twists and turns, but he’s got the type of persona you can see taking a mic and calling out his next opponent in front of television camera. Even battling with his memory problems, he can fill a room with his easy-going, open-to-it-all attitude. He credits WWE’s Mick Foley for his own calling to the squared-circle rope opera. “He sacrificed his body for the fans, and he proved you didn’t have to have six-pack abs or 24-inch pythons,” Lucas said. “It didn’t matter if he was the disturbed Mankind or the lovable, sweet hipster Dude Love, he always kept me watching.” Given the big personalities and shock-and-awe theatrics of pro wrestling, Lucas got a bit of a wake-up call when he went to wrestle with the Boys & Girls Club as a fifth grader in Arkansas. The...

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