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  Oct 7, 1999

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Doctors monitor Droz's condition

Gangrel flips Droz at the WWF show at Toronto's SkyDome April 23, 1999. -- Greg Henkenhaf, Toronto Sun
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- Professional wrestler Darren "The Droz" Drozdov was treated with steroid medications after fracturing his neck during a match at the Nassau Coliseum.

Drozdov, who was paralyzed below the waist after the accident Tuesday night, was given the same medicine given to New York Jets defensive end Dennis Byrd and Chinese gymnast Sang Lan when they suffered spinal cord injuries.

Byrd, who was injured after colliding with a teammate in 1992, later regained use of his legs in a recovery that was termed miraculous. Lan was paralyzed from the chest down in an accident -- also at the Nassau Coliseum -- during the 1998 Goodwill Games.

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," said Mermelstein. Drozdov, 30, of Mays Landing, N.J., suffered two dislocated and fractured discs in the mishap.

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, Mermelstein said.

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

The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder was wrestling against D'Lo Brown on Tuesday night when the accident occurred.

"The thoughts and prayers of the entire World Wrestling Federation go out to Droz and his family," the WWF said in a statement posted Thursday on its Web site.

Drozdov played football at the University of Maryland and was signed by the New York Jets as a free agent in 1993. He was claimed off waivers by the Denver Broncos that same year, and spent two seasons with them before going into wrestling.

In the ring, Drozdov was known for wearing outrageous hats and appearing with his personal tattoo and piercing artist, Prince Albert.