The safety of BKB in the future will ultimately be determined by the rules and regulaions used in the fights. The fighters safety is paramount and the set of rules that are currently being developed will safeguard the fighter first and foremost and indeed all concerned in the sport. It is proven that the introduction of gloves was one of the biggest mistakes made and consequently resulted in needless deaths and severe injuries to the fighters.Even less safe are the underground fights that take place in every city and in every country most weekends.
VARIOUS ARTICLES ON SAFETY ISSUE SINCE THE INTRODUCTION OF GLOVES
Headway position statement: Boxing 18 October 2011
Headway - the brain injury association believes that all forms of boxing should be banned with immediate effect due to the risk of serious injury to the brain.
The call is in line with the charity's stated objective:
To initiate activities and campaigns to reduce the incidence of brain injury.
Eleven medical associations around the world, including the British Medical Association, have said chronic brain damage is caused by repeated blows to the head, which are experienced by all boxers.
Boxing actively encourages participants to strike opponents' heads and incapacitate them by knocking them senseless. The cumulative effect of deliberate blows to the head can cause serious and long-term brain injury or even death.
Headway is committed to helping people improve their lives after sustaining brain injuries and sees first-hand the devastating effects that it can have. Headway is equally determined to prevent more people needlessly risking their health by boxing
UNIVERSITY OF WALES INSTITUTE, CARDIFF...CHRONIC BRAIN INJURY IN BOXING
FOR THE FULL DETAILED STUDY PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK. http://www.aiba.org/documents/site1/Commissions/Medical/Masters%20Thesis%20Head%20injury%20in%20Boxing%20final%20v5.pdf
BRAIN DAMAGE CAUSED BY BOXING
AT PRESENT , boxing remains one of the world 's exciting and competitive sports . It demands the optimum physical , mental and emotional performance from the boxer who trains to his limits in to defeat the other party who likewise undergoes the same punishing routine in an effort to achieve the same purpose . In the four corners of the ring and of the rules of the sport , the most dangerous thing is the boxer 's gloved hand which inflicts countless blows on the various parts of the opponent 's body . This weapon is composed of bones and muscles snugly bundled in strong athletic tape and wrapped in the durable leather gloves . It is said that a direct blow to the head is similar to the impact of a 12lb padded , wooden mallet at 20mph ' Despite attempts to soften the blows and protect the boxer 's hand , a gloved hand can still cause cuts , bruises and at times , render the recipient unconscious due mainly to the power of the body behind it According to some sectors , repeated punches to the head of this magnitude will send the brain which floats in intra-cranial liquid of the very fragile cavity of the human head , into abrupt movement that affects and disturbs normal brain and body functions . And unlike the rest of the body which is well-protected with bone , fat , skin and muscle , the delicate brain is minimally protected from trauma like punches To further stress the danger of the sport , professional boxing requires a boxer to procure a license to compete in a professional match and any unsanctioned use of the boxer 's hand merits its automatic revocation This is accompanied by a physical check-up of the boxer to determine his fitness to fight . In certain jurisdictions , any damage or injury sustained to the head may result in the denial of a fight license . This is attributed to the recognized fact of the amount of damage an unbridled hand of a boxer may inflict outside the ring
Dr . Bill O 'Neill , spokesperson for the British Medical Association (BMA said that in contrast with other sports , boxing allows repeated hits to the other person 's head and in some boxing associations , even awards greater points--- a contact which is strictly prohibited in most athletic competitions It has only been of late that some medical and anti-boxing groups have called for the ban , if not strict regulation on the sport
. The Dutch government , for instance , has directed its scientists to research on the imposition of neuropsychological tests on sports with risks of brain trauma Based on numerous studies , some sports doctors believe that there 's no conclusive evidence proving amateur boxing with long-term brain injury But according to the British Medical Association , the brain may be damaged either by (1 ) a highly traumatic blow to the head caused by a single or significant punch or (2 ) a less powerful but repeated blows to the cranial area that leads to a slow build up of intra-cranial swelling and brain damage . Both these methods may occur at any time during a highly competitive boxing match . To further strengthen their position a study presented at the 59th American Academy of Neurology unraveled that spinal fluid extracted from boxers right after a boxing bout possess increased presence of markers pointing to brain damage Yet despite the popular dangers and risks that the sport poses to boxers , a definitive ban has yet to be imposed by authorities as studies continue to be inconclusive and inconsistent to prove that the sport contributes to any form of brain damage At one side you have the case of Muhammad Ali , whose current battle with Parkinson 's disease , was viewed merely as circumstantial damage of his countless rounds in the ring . On the other side of the fence you have the tragedy of boxer Paul Ingle whose injury to his brain from a fight caused the blood clot to form and placed pressure on his brain surface to accumulate Most health professionals and associations are united in seeking for the ban on both professional and amateur boxing . However , as there has been no court that has decided on the legality of boxing , the scientific evidence tending to prove the dangerous nature of the sport could not come under judicial review . And until such time , boxers continue to rely on present safety and protective equipment as well as breakthrough advancement in medicine and surgery as a counterpunch to the negative effects of this exciting sport that continues to take boxers down for the count inside and outside the ring
Is Bareknuckle Boxing Safer Than Gloved Boxing ?
IN a 2007 article in the The Independant (UK), sports historian Nicholas Hobbes explains that gloves were introduced to make competitions bloodier and briefer. Gloves distribute a blow, but they also add weight to a punch, making it more destructive: The Marquess of Queensberry rules took off not because society viewed the new sport as more civilised than the old, but because fights conducted under the new guidelines attracted more spectators. Audiences wanted to see repeated blows to the head and dramatic knockouts.
By contrast, the last bare-knuckle heavyweight contest in the US in 1897 dragged on into the 75th round. Since gloves spread the impact of a blow, the recipient of a punch is less likely to be blinded, have their teeth knocked out or their jaw broken. However, gloves do not lessen the force applied to the brain as it rattles inside the skull from a heavy blow. In fact, they make matters worse by adding 10oz to the weight of the fist.
A full-force punch to the head is comparable to being hit with a 12lb padded wooden mallet travelling at 20mph.
As the bare-knuckle campaigner Dr Alan J Ryan pointed out: “In 100 years of bare-knuckle fighting in the United States, which terminated around 1897 with a John L Sullivan heavyweight championship fight, there wasn’t a single ring fatality.” Today, there are three or four every year in the US, and around 15 per cent of professional fighters suffer some form of permanent brain damage during their career
THE DANGERS OF BOXING
In the ninth round, he started a right hand and I reached over to catch it. When I opened my glove it wasn’t there and I heard the referee say: ´Four. I thought to myself, Man, he’s startin’ awful high. — Sugar Ray Robinson
In 1928 an American pathologist wrote a paper entitled "Punch Drunk" in which he drew attention to a condition that was largely unknown back then;
"Many cases remain mild, but in severe cases there many develop a peculiar tilting of the head, a marked dragging of one or both legs, a staggering, propulsive gait with the facial characteristics of the Parkinsonian syndrome, or backward swaying of the body, tremors, vertigo, or deafness. Finally marked mental deterioration may set in necessitating commitment to an asylum."
What is Boxing all about? Despite rules and regulation boxing is a hurting business. In essence it’s about hitting and not being hit. In spirit it could be said to be a conversation with the self. Inflicting damage on your opponent is deliberate and that is what distinguishes it from other sports, it’s what makes boxing so controversial and polarizing and as a result, deaths in the ring and some of the more serious injuries that are sustained by willing participants are deemed by many who don’t understand the motivations of fighters and the allure of boxing to be completely unnecessary and avoidable.
Force of Punches In 1985 Atha et al measured punches delivered by the then heavy weight champion Frank Bruno. Using an instrumented ballistic pendulum they observed forces of approximately 500kgs (1100 pounds). Clearly with such violent velocities and capabilities at hand, particulary in the heavyweight divisions, the 12 rules devised by the Marquess of Queensberry will not, and probably were not intended to prevent brain injuries and death. Surely the extensive body count made evident by The Manuel Velazquez Fatality Collection would be testament to that. In order to gain a more thorough understanding of Newton’s third law of motion and how it applies to force production -
Common head injuries in boxing
As a trainer or boxer there are a few medical terms that are worth having rudimentary knowledge of. Typically the most serious boxing injuries are those caused by a blow or a series of blows to the head. When injuries are deemed serious enough they go under the relatively broad expression of Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI for short. The most common of the more severe head injuries are concussion and subdural-hematoma which is basically bleeding inside the skull due to ruptured or severed arteries. For a more thorough and medically qualified explanation of what a subdural-hemetoma is, view the video below. Boxing statistics indicate approximately a 6% rate of knockouts and 1 TBI per 12 rounds of competition (Brain Injury Resource Foundation 2009)
Second impact syndrome
This phenomenon occurs when the brain swells catastrophically after even a mild blow, with debilitating or even lethal results. As the name suggests, this is caused by a second blow to a person’s head who has already suffered a recent head injury or head knock and there hasn’t been sufficent time for the first injury to heal. If you’re a trainer, it behooves you to know what your boxers have been up to outside of training. Any head knocks sustained in recreational activities can be prove deadly when that boxer has to step inside the ring.
The Contrecoup effect
Occurs when the head is hit (e.g. by a punch to the head) and accelerated in the opposite direction from the incoming blow which then causes the brain to collide with the inside of the skull where the knock occurred, this then sends a percussion wave to the opposite side of the skull. The first impact causes the coup injury whilst the second force causes the contrecoup (pronounced “con-tra- koo”) injury.
Modern advancements have brought about the X-ray and more recently magnetic resonance imaging or MRI which allows us to see structures within the brain. These tools can show intracranial bleeding quite well. What they cannot show is the phenomenon known as axonal shearing. Left is a diagram of motor neuron. When axonal shearing takes place the axon is severed and the cell dies. Given that each neuron communicates with approximately 50,000 other cells this of course has a detrimental effect on the interconnectedness of the brain. When enough of the brain cells die this can present itself with a change in behavior, coordination and impaired spatial awareness.
BBC HEALTH....THIS ARTICLE WAS LAST REVIEWED IN JAN 2011
Cuts and bruises are the most common boxing injuries, and many boxers leave the ring needing stitches to the face and dental work. Body blows can lead to broken ribs and internal bleeding. Potentially blinding eye injuries can occur but may be difficult to detect except by specialist examination.
Although many injuries occur, boxing accounts for fewer deaths than many other sports, but the British Medical Association (BMA) says this is insignificant compared to the effects of brain damage that may go unrecorded in many boxers.
As boxing involves powerful people hitting each other repeatedly, often around the head, there are significant risks of head injury. Most serious of all is a risk of permanent severe brain damage. According to brain surgeons, over 80 per cent of professional boxers have serious brain scarring on MRI scans. The evidence for harm or cumulative brain damage to amateur boxers is less clear.
Other research has shown that a chemical called neurofilament light or NFL, which is released when nerve cells are damaged, is four times higher than normal in boxers after a fight and up to eight times higher when there have been more than 15 high-impact hits to the head. It takes about three months for levels to return to normal after a fight.
While other injuries repair relatively easily, brain tissue, once damaged, remains damaged. The symptoms of such brain damage - commonly known as being 'punch drunk' - include slurred speech, slow reactions and even occasional blackouts (‘chronic traumatic encephalopathy’). These symptoms may take years to appear – on average about 16 years after taking up boxing, but sometimes as later as 40 years, long after the boxer has retired from the sport.
The BMA, which represents 84 per cent of the UK's doctors, opposes boxing primarily because of the threat to the brain and eyes.
REPORT BY THE BMA ON ITS OPINION OF BOXING
ARTICLE FROM THE JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE
THE BMA....THE DANGERS OF CONSTANT HEAD PUNCHES IN BOXING
HOW SAFE IS BKB?
We often hear calls for a ban on boxing due to the number of tragic incidents that occur in the ring. The list of victims is testament to the very real risks of permanent brain damage and even death.
Has boxing always been this dangerous? The answer is arguably no.
Ancient boxing was indeed far more brutal with fighters wearing crude coverings on their hands, sometimes with spikes embedded in the knuckle area, to protect the hands and maximize potential damage to the head and body of the other fighter.
It wasn’t until the 18th century in England with the introduction of bare knuckle fighting or "prizefighting" that the safety of boxing from the fighter’s point of view was really addressed. The London Prize Ring Rules (1743) were introduced by bare knuckle heavyweight champion Jack Broughton and gave the fighter two clear safety advantages over their ancient and modern counterparts.
Firstly, each fighter was allowed at any time during the fight to drop to one knee for 30 seconds. During this time the other fighter was not allowed to attack and the resting fighter was allowed to regain composure and continue, if he could. Today the referee is the only person that can stop a bout and only then if he feels that the fight is unfairly matched or one fighter is unable to continue due to injury or cuts, or if one fighter cannot defend himself. As we have seen this can often result in fighters taking too much punishment before the ref steps in and by then the damage can already be done.
Secondly and most significantly, the fighters wore no gloves which meant that they were far more cautious when going for head shots due to the damage that it did to the hands. Today’s modern game has more in common with its ancient ancestors in this regard as gloves now facilitate multiple head shots and the scoring system used also favors head shots.
Looking at these facts it is hard to justify the set up of modern boxing when talking about safety of the fighters. Would a return to bare knuckle boxing see a reduction in injuries or a reduction in ticket/pay per view revenue? This is possibly where the real issues lie in the modern game.
The Bitter science
An article by the National Parkinsons foundation
Hang up the boxing gloves
March the 4th, 1995
Bare-knuckle fights would break more hands but fewer heads
WHEN a young amateur or a journeyman pro is killed in the ring, as half a dozen are in an average year, there is not much fuss. But whenever a boxer dies after a world championship fight, or is seriously injured, the sport's
rule-making bodies come under intense public pressure to make the self-styled "noble art of self defence" less lethal.
It happened, for instance, when Benny Paret, a Cuban welterweight, died in 1962 after being battered in a televised title fight in New York. It happened again in 1980 when Johnny Owen, a Welsh bantamweight, died in Los Angeles after fighting for a version of that world championship. And it happened once more this week when America's Gerald McClellan lay critically ill in a London hospital where he had a blood clot removed from his brain after being knocked out by Britain's Nigel Benn in a televised fight for a slice of the world super-middleweight title. Although boxing is cursed by an alphabet-soup of competing regulatory boards, most of the changes that have been broadly accepted in an effort to appease the sport's critics make sense. The duration of world title fights has been cut from 15 to 12 rounds. There are mandatory suspensions for boxers who have suffered knock-outs or technical knock-out. Boxers are subjected to comprehensive medical examinations and to test for narcotics. Referees are now much more willing to stop fights to save out-classed contestants from further punishment than they used to be in the bad old days of "Homicide Hank" Armstrong, "Gorilla" Jones and the "Astoria Assassin".
But one change seen by some as making the sport more safe has made it more dangerous: ever-plumper boxing gloves. Heavy gloves (as opposed to mere mitts) were first worn in a world heavyweight championship fight in 1892 in New Orleans, when "Gentleman Jim" Corbett wrested the title from John L. Sullivan, who was famous as "the Boston Strong Boy" and infamous as a brutish drunk who on entering a saloon habitually roared: "I can lick any man in the house." Since then the regulation gloves have got heavier and heavier until today middleweights and above, like Gerald McClellan and Nigel Been, not only wear 10-ounce (283-gram) gloves but are also permitted to have each hand wrapped in up to 18 feet (5.5 metres) of bandages held in place by 9 to 11 feet of zinc-oxide tape.
This padding helps the hitter and hurts the hittee. Since the bones in a man's head are stronger than the bones in a man's fists, a bare-knuckle fighter risks damaging himself more than his opponent if he hits as hard as he can when he aims punches at the head. Unless he has unusually brittle hands, a boxer whose fists are protected by cushions has no such inhibitions. He can hit to the head with full force without much risk of injuring his hands -- and so add to the number of boxers who end up on the slab or with pugilistica dementia.
In most other respects prize-fighting in the 19th century under the old Broughton rules was far more brutal than today's professional boxing. Nobody sensible wants a return to the days when pugilists fought to the finish in brawls that sometime lasted for hours. But a return to bare knuckles, or even mitts, would make the sport safer than it is with boxing gloves. Safer does not, of course, mean safe. It will still be hard to quarrel with the American Medical Association Journal when it says that in other sports injury of the opponent is an undesirable by-product of the activity but "in boxing the injury of the
opponent is deliberate and the method to win."Copyright 1995 The Economist Newspaper, Ltd.
Gloves off in the latest boxing bout
April 30, 1994, Saturday
MEN WERE doubtless belabouring each other with their fists back in East Africa when homo more or less sapiens emerged as a force to be reckoned with. The first evidence of boxing as a sport dates from around 1500BC in Crete. The Greeks introduced it into the Olympic Games in the 7th century BC, later combining it with wrestling, and it became an established part of military training in ancient Greece. Initially, soft leather thongs were used to protect the knuckles. Hardened leather later transformed this protection into an offensive weapon - albeit not as offensive as the metal-studded version with which wealthy Greeks and Romans obliged their specially trained slaves to fight, often to the death.
Bare-knuckle fights were the norm in Britain from the first recorded fight in 1681, between a servant of the Duke of Albemarle and a butcher. There were initially no rules: hitting an opponent when he was down was permitted. That changed in the mid-18th century, when Jack Broughton, the reigning champion, drew up some basic regulations which were revised first in 1839 and, with the famous Queensberry Rules, in 1867. Boxing, both professional and amateur, is nowadays tightly controlled. Yet it remains not just violent, but the only sport in which inflicting physical damage on your opponent is the primary aim. There could be no more poignant reminder of that than the death on Wednesday of 23-year-old super-bantamweight title contender, Bradley Stone, following a fight that was stopped in the tenth round. Once again, as after the damage to Michael Watson in 1991, the call goes up to ban this sport. Although the demand is usually triggered by a fatality or near fatality, the medical case for a ban centres on brain damage rather than death. Compared with many other sports and
leisure activities, such as skiing and mountaineering, boxing kills few people. But it damages many. There is undisputed medical evidence that repeated heavy blows to the head cumulatively lead to a condition variously described as pugilistic dementia, chronic boxer's encephalopathy and, more simply, being punch-drunk. Most symptoms are similar to those of Parkinson's disease and senile dementia. Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxer's in history, is a living warning.
After the Michael Watson case, fresh medical precautions were introduced; yet a young boxer has still died. There may now be further calls for protective headgear. Yet that, like gloves, could have the opposite effect, by increasing the amount of punishment that boxers can absorb without reducing the battering effect. Reverting to bare knuckles might, paradoxically, do more good. Short-term damage would increase, and it would not be a pretty sight on television. But there would be fewer punch-drunk ex-boxers being looked after by long-suffering relatives or nursing homes.
There is a social argument, too, for a ban: that boxing is a brutal sport that degrades not just the combatants but spectators, be they at the ringside or watching TV. Boxing enthusiasts dispute the first claim. They see man's desire to fight as something elemental that has been raised to an art in this sport. Libertarians will join them in questioning the state's right to dictate which sports people may enjoy - providing they are not contrary to the common good nor, like dog-fighting, involve cruelty to animals.
This is an issue in which both sides have a good case, but the arguments against a ban are stronger. Every boxer knows that he risks brain damage, just as other sportsmen and athletes risk muscular damage. If a ban were imposed, those determined to box would either go abroad or underground. The urge to regulate and restrain, whether or not reinforced by a predictable misfortune, is very powerful in certain sectors of the community. The key test of whether to accede to it is whether damage is done to those who are not willing participants. In this case it has not. The urge should be resolutely resisted.
Copyright 1994 Newspaper Publishing PLC
The Independent (London)