Could OSAC Have Prevented The Andre Heart Fiasco?
There are a number of workers who are in a panic worrying and wondering if they are HIV positive, if they have passed the virus to their loved ones, girlfriends, spouses, all due to having wrestled with Andre Heart.
Heart has been charged by police with battery for having unprotected sex with one woman though that number is conservative, without telling them he was HIV positive, a felony in Ohio.
Heart had a tryout with the WWE in 2009 but failed the physical, allegedly because he tested positive for HIV but he continued to wrestle, often times blading in some of his matches around the southern Ohio area.
One of the most affected and worried promotions is Heartland Wrestling Association where Heart frequently worked but the possibility of infection reaches farther than just southern Ohio. Heart reportedly worked in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania over from 2008 to present even after he found out he was HIV positive.
Right now all a professional wrestler needs to do to obtain a license from the Ohio State Athletic Commission is to send them money and a form, far less information, at least medically, than what an MMA fighter has to show. MMA fighters need to show blood test results, CAT and PET scans and any number of medical test results before they are licensed to fight in Ohio.
There had been talk that the OSAC was considering adopting more stringent rules regarding professional wrestling in Ohio that would be adopted from the current Georgia rules which include, no blood, no chair shots, no fighting outside the ring and a number of other rules that would severely cripple the indie wrestling scene in Ohio.
If the OSAC were to adopt licensing rules for workers that included a recent physical or were to require a physical that would show negative results not only for HIV but also Hepatitis C, which is another major issue plaguing wrestling at this moment, it is possible people like Andre Heart would not be licensed to wrestle.
This would also mean that promoters would have to have more stringent guidelines to gain their permit to run shows. As of now anyone with $200 and the application can get a permit and there are hundreds of outlaw promoters running without a license or insurance in Ohio that the OSAC will do nothing about unless a complaint is filed. If that is done then the OSAC will warn the promoter that he needs to obtain his license and show permit to continue to run.
There have been very few shows in Ohio shut down by the OSAC for violations and usually if the report is made in advance of the show the promoter of record is notified that he needs a permit to run.
Andre Heart and the allegations against him have ruined a number of lives, not just the people he slept with but also the people he has wrestled against. Even after initial contact with the HIV virus, which usually results in flu like symptoms, it can lie dormant for a number of years and the carrier is unaware that they are even infected. The boys who have wrestled Andre Heart as well as the promoters who have used Heart are in a quandary over their career and their future. If a promoter who used Heart ran without insurance, a common practice, they could be liable for anyone who may contract HIV from Heart.
The likelihood that anyone would contract HIV from Heart, even in a bloody match is minute but still a very scary and very real possibility. The Undertaker beat Bob Orton Jr. to a bloody pulp on a WWE PPV unknowing that Orton Jr. had Hep C and while there is a slight chance that the virus could have been spread to The Undertaker the actual percentage is slim, as with anyone who worked Andre Heart.
One can only hope this is a lesson learned for the many promoters in the Ohio area to be more cautious about who they use on their show, the use of color in their show and possibly a wake-up call for the OSAC to finally do their job and require more of the people who want to be licensed than just a buck.