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Surgery For Paralyzed Wrestler

World Wrestling Federation star Darren Drozdov is recovering from surgery after being paralyzed below the waist from a neck fracture during a match.

The accident at the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday is the second professional wrestling tragedy in five months.

The tattooed, body-pierced wrestler known as "The Droz," underwent three hours of surgery Wednesday to relieve pressure on his damaged neck, said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Laurence Mermelstein of the Nassau County Medical Center.

"It's way too early to say whether or not he'll regain use of his legs," Mermelstein said.

Drozdov, 30, of Mays Landing, N.J., suffered two dislocated and fractured discs while wrestling against D'Lo Brown.

Despite the loss of feeling in his legs, Drozdov was in good spirits when he arrived at the hospital, Mermelstein said.

Surgeons removed a piece of Drozdov's pelvis to replace the injured discs. They also attached a plate and screws to the area in an effort to stabilize his neck, the doctor said.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pound wrestler was given the same steroid medication as New York Jets defensive end Dennis Byrd and Chinese gymnast Sang Lan when they suffered spinal cord injuries.

Byrd later regained use of his legs. Lan was paralyzed from the chest down in an accident also at the Nassau Coliseum during the 1998 Goodwill Games.

Drozdov's injury came just five months after the WWF suffered an in-ring fatality.

Wrestler Owen Hart, 34, known professionally as the Blue Blazer, died May 23 during a live pay-per-view event when he fell from the ceiling of the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. His family has since sued the WWF and its owner, Vince McMahon, for wrongful death.

The WWF had no immediate comment Wednesday on Drozdov's accident.

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