The Devastating Effects of Brain Injuries | Boxing & Brain Damage
Is boxing too dangerous?
With Chris Eubank Jnr’s latest fight, the bell rings for another round on the boxing safety debate. Some say boxing has got too dangerous, as shown by Nick Blackwell’s induced coma. Others say it’s just a part of the sport. And Eubank Snr, well, it’s a bit more complicated…
Yes, although Eubank Snr advised his son to go for the body in the Blackwell fight to protect his failing opponent, he only said this due to his son’s knockout ability: “If you don’t need to land shots to the head then don’t.”
So, should amateur boxers feel fine going for the head? Should more precautions be taken at higher levels? After all, Eubank Jnr says: “This is not a game. You have to win.”
(Related: Has rugby got too dangerous?)
Well, it’s a question the International Boxing Association (IBA) has made more complicated by making the summer Olympics the first one since 1984 where boxers aren’t required to wear protective headgear. Why? The IBA say that concussions actually rise with the helmets – but only for pro male fighters (female boxers will still keep the head protectors firmly on).
Put simply, there is no definitive answer how to keep safe in the ring and reap the rewards for victory. For every photo of Muhammad Ali standing triumphant over the beaten Joe Frazier there is the warning of Michael Watson’s paralysing brain damage caused by blows from Eubank Snr in September 1991.
The debate about contact sport and safety will rage on, whether boxing or rugby, but for the moment both sides are simply sparring without any knockout blows.
Video: Don't want brain damage from boxing or sparring?
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