MMA and CTE

The hot button topic in the research world with concussions is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease, twin (fraternal) sibling of dementia pugilistica first found by Dr. Bennett Omalu.  This brain disease is debated and some times discounted (as you will see tomorrow) for its links to repetitive brain trauma, i.e. multiple concussions.  It does however have a place in the discussion with combative sports like MMA.

Recently a former fighter named Gary Goodridge has said he believes to be suffering from its onset.  Steven Marrocco of MMAjunkie.com wrote a piece on Goodridge and the debate of CTE in the sport;

The damage, he noted, was not extensive enough that it had caused irreversible trauma. But had the fighters continued to compete, he believes they would have been candidates for CTE.

“What I’m saying is that mixed martial arts belongs to the high-risk group of CTE,” Omalu said. “I would consider mixed martial arts just like I would boxing.” Continue reading

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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; Continue reading