Lex Luger’s Horrific Injury Paralyzed Him For Life, But Only Partially

Hamish Woodward

Lex Luger is one of the biggest stars not inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Despite an incredible career that spanned decades and multiple world championship reigns, he has been ignored by the WWE for a Hall of Fame induction for many years.

There are many reasons why a wrestler may be rejected from the Hall of Fame, but not one with Luger’s resume. He is a former WCW World Heavyweight Champion and Royal Rumble winner (and a “Most Patriotic” Slammy Award winner too!), and was tasked as being the man to replace Hulk Hogan in the WWE.

While his attempt to become the next face of WWE failed, Luger managed to become a huge part of World Championship Wrestling in the Monday Night Wars. He debuted on the first episode of WCW Monday Nitro, jumping ship from the WWE in the first shot fired of the Monday Night Wars.

However, it’s been 17-years since Lex Luger’s last match, and in that time he has suffered from some horrific injuries that left him bound to a wheelchair, paralyzed and unable to walk for extended periods of time.

Lex Luger Was Paralyzed In 2007

During a flight to San Francisco in 2007, Lex Luger suffered with a stiff neck that became worse than he could ever imagine. Being 6 foot 3 and with a bodybuilder build, he was used to being uncomfortable on planes, but that was different.

Luger was suffering a pinched nerve in his neck, which restricted blood flow to the rest of his body and caused him great discomfort. When he tried to adjust his neck, the former WCW Champion suffered total paralysis, becoming a quadriplegic almost instantly and ending his wrestling career in an instant.

His paralysis came from the pinched nerve, which is known medically as a nerve impingement, caused pressure on his spine and caused an infection which led to the paralysis, as well as a spinal stroke. Many people have died from such a condition, so Lex Luger was lucky to be alive.

Lex Luger debuted, wearing THAT shirt, on the debut episode of WCW Monday Nitro.

Originally, the infection was not thought to be too serious. Luger went through an intensive antibiotic treatment, but was still unable to move his arms or legs one month later.

This drew huge concerns, and doctors warned him that he would likely be in a wheelchair the rest of his life, despite being only 49-years-old and incredible healthy for a man of his age.

Luger revealed all when speaking to WWE.com, in an interview that shed the light on his paralysis for the first time in the WWE. Luger explained how such a minor incident led to his injury, and that he was paralyzed from the neck down almost instantly – the same fate suffered by wrestlers like Yoshihiro Takayama, Hayabusa and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

“I injured my neck on an airplane from Atlanta to San Francisco. The way I had turned my neck while sitting on the plane had basically cut off my blood flow. It was just a freak accident, but it caused massive swelling from my C6 [vertebra], at the base of your neck, to my D5 in my chest. It paralyzed me from the neck down.”

“They told me that I was a healthy 49-year-old, though I’d be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of my life and need 24-hour medical care. But my recovery has been just phenomenal. Now I live on my own, I’m walking and I’m thankful for that. Nobody knows if I’ll make a 100-percent recovery, but I’ve gotten so much back already … more than anybody would ever have thought.”

Read About Six Wrestlers Who Were Paralyzed In The Ring.

Despite the life-changing diagnosis, Lex Luger did not let his paralysis get him down. Within a year he could walk short distances again, and as of 2023 swaps between his wheelchair and walking on a regular basis, wowing doctors with his miraculous recovery.

He has even set himself a lofty goal that would have been impossible just a few years ago – walking across the stage at the WWE Hall of Fame. Lex Luger has not been included in the WWE Hall of Fame yet, and remains one of the biggest exclusions to date.

Taking inspiration from Hayabusa’s iconic walk to the ring after total paralysis, Lex Luger spoke to Sports Illustrated about a potential Hall of Fame induction, revealing that he would “pop out of the chair” to collect his Hall of Fame ring from Vince McMahon.

“It’s mind-boggling. I’m in phenomenal health. Other than my mobility issues from my spinal cord issue, I’m very healthy, and that’s a miracle of God after what I put my body through. I usually use a wheelchair or a walker, but I can walk some.

“I might pop out of the chair for that. I would take that chance, if that moment comes. That honor would be the cherry on top of my career.”

Luger was originally meant to be cast to a bed or a chair for life, but has defied doctors completely. The WWE legend lives independently and is able to feed and bathe himself, as well as switching between a chair, a walker and his feet when moving around – something unthinkable back in 2007.

Lex Luger is one of the favorites to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2024 – click the link below to see which superstars should join him in his induction this year!

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