Name: Dr. John J. Bonica

PWHF New York State Award, 2004

John J. Bonica, M.D.

John Bonica wrestled all the greats of his time, including Angelo Savoldi, Bull Curry, Jim Londos, Ray Steele, The Duseks and Ed Strangler Lewis. He went to a one hour draw with life-long friend Lou Thesz. On the AT show circuit, he wrestled as Johnny "Bull" Walker. He once defeated the entire 36 member wrestling team of an upstate NY college in one day. One day, while working a carnival taking on all challengers, the snarling Dr. Bonica had to break character. When a call for medical assistance came over the loudspeaker, John rushed to the aid of the distressed patron, stabilized the situation and called for an ambulance. In 1939 he won the light heavyweight championship of Canada and two years later he won the NWA light heavyweight championship of the world.

Although Dr. John was wrestling at night, he concentrated on his medical studies during the day. In 1950 he began writing the 1,500 page book The Management Of Pain. The book was published in 1953 and subsequently was translated into several languages. It eventually became considered "the Bible" of pain diagnosis and therapy. Dr. Bonica has written and edited 41 books, has been a collaborator and contributor to 60 other books, and has written 274 scientific articles, two-thirds of which have been devoted to pain research and therapy, including acupuncture. His contributions to anesthesiology and pain have been reported in several thousand newspapers published all over the world. The former wrestling champion's work has been the subject of feature articles in the weekly magazines TIME, NEWSWEEK and US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, with TIME magazine calling him the "founding father of pain research and treatment."

- JOHN PANTOZZI



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