Pugilistic Sports and Concussions

Dementia Pugilistica, otherwise know as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has its roots in the Sport of Kings, boxing.  Given that this sport and its derivatives; MMA, UFC, etc., goal is to inflict brain trauma there is surprisingly less heard about their dealings with concussions.  There could be a lot of reasons why this may be; expected, inherent work condition, informed consent, less watched, or their general dealings with head trauma.

Quietly, these sports and their sanctioning bodies have instituted some of the more strict rules when recovering from a knock out, or concussion.  Generally each state and province sanctioning body has a “medical suspension” induced on a fighter that is KO’ed or even shows signs of a concussion, most are 30 days.  Although specific wording in each groups medical suspension varies, the base of it provides that a fighter CANNOT fight for 30 days after the incident.  Less commonly known is that this also includes sparring and training; however this clause is not in most rules, it is inferred.  That is unless you are the UFC.

As highlighted by Morgan Campbell of TheStar.com the UFC has a policy in place, as explained by UFC Canada President Tom Wright;

When a fighter is knocked out in a UFC event he is immediately brought to hospital, where he undergoes either an MRI or a CT scan. In addition to commission-imposed suspensions, the UFC issues a parallel suspension, banning the fighter from contact drills in practice for at least 60 days and from competing for 90 days.

The question asked in the article is a good one; is this enough?  I will be honest, I don’t know what “enough” is for anyone, but the UFC publicized policy is far greater than anything else in sports, it even falls more in line with Benett Omalu, a leader in CTE research.  As Campbell also noted, daily evaluation and treatment when warranted is also needed, but again this is at a cost to the business.

What should be known is that the risks involved with repeatedly being pounded in the head are LIFE LASTING, and protecting those that choose to partake in these sports is a high priority.  You cannot fault the UFC or commissions that medically suspend pugilistic athletes, in fact they should be highlighted for doing what they currently are.

One thought on “Pugilistic Sports and Concussions

  1. Barbara Brock October 3, 2011 / 07:40

    I wanted to make you aware of the standardized Reality Comprehension Clock Test(1999 RCCT Brock,B., et al) and how the test can provide a quick VISUAL VIEW of injured athletes actual COGNITIVE SKILLS in REAL TIME.

    The RCCT can be administered by RCCT trained, sport medicine staff quickly from the sidelines of any sporting event.

    Unlike Language based assessments (currently being used)

    the RCCT identifies and reveals COGNITIVE injuries when the

    the injured athlete replicates the RCCT clock drawing example ALONG THE SIDELINES.

    The RCCT also identifies the athlete’s Spatial Skills and risk of falling.

    MUST SEE- You can VIEW a case study with pictures of injured athlete’s RCCT clock drawings on our web site at: http://www.clocktestrcct.com
    Click on Athlete’s Concussion- Pugilistic Dementia

    If you are interested I have the entire case study of this concussion injury which gives in-depth information regarding the RCCT’s valid and reliable scoring method and how RCCT data leads to SAFER medical decisions for athletes when they experience a concussion.

    You may call me directly at 419-865-6131.

    Please let me know of your interest.

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