SportsNo easy answers on head injuries in combat sports

07:20  07 december  2018
07:20  07 december  2018 Source:   msn.com

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A head injury is any injury that results in trauma to the skull or brain. The terms traumatic brain injury and head injury are often used interchangeably in the medical literature.

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No easy answers on head injuries in combat sports© Provided by thecanadianpress.com Oleksandr Gvozdyk, of Ukraine, lands a knockout punch to Adonis Stevenson, of Montreal, to win the Light Heavyweight WBC championship fight, Saturday, December 1, 2018 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

The severe traumatic brain injury suffered by Canadian boxer Adonis Stevenson has pushed the subject of head trauma in combat sports back into the spotlight.

There are no easy solutions in either boxing or mixed martial arts, where repeated blows to the head are the norm despite the potential for serious and long-term consequences. The head is a main target in both sports and fighters say they know the risks.

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A head injury is an injury to the brain, skull, or scalp. It can be hard to assess the severity of the injury just by looking. Minor head injuries may bleed a lot, while some major injuries don’t bleed at all. All head injuries should be treated seriously and assessed by a doctor. Learn about the six major types.

But if you watch combat sport athletes, you’ve probably noticed an incredible range in emotional Sport -related concussions once again have hit the headlines. It is estimated that at least 300,000 It might then be easier for your mind to focus on the positive thoughts and it will take some of the sting

"It's dangerous but it's also something that the majority of us love the thrill, love the challenge, love the daring part of it," said former boxing champion Bernard Hopkins. "That's what makes us who we are."

Stevenson remained in stable but critical condition after a knockout loss last Saturday night in Quebec City. He dropped his WBC light heavyweight title to Oleksandr Gvozdyk of Ukraine.

The Montreal fighter underwent surgery to reduce bleeding in the brain and his prognosis remains uncertain. Doctors said that Stevenson is under mechanical ventilation, is sedated and requires specialized neurological monitoring.

The harsh reality of combat sports is that it is violent, often bloody, and at times, downright difficult to watch.

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Sports injuries can result from a number of different causes including overtraining, overuse, improper warm-up, poor technique and impact. As impact and contact is often a requirement of many sports the only way to reduce the risk is to wear protective clothing if possible, such as shin pads or helmets.

Sports -related Head Injury | American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Helmets and head gear come in many sizes and styles for many sports and must properly fit to provide maximum protection against head injuries .

Stevenson was on the receiving end of two nasty flurries of punches late in the 11th round at the Videotron Centre. The final barrage included repeated head shots, with Stevenson's legs finally buckling after taking a stiff right hand while backed against the corner.

"Knowing that these blows are cumulative in their damaging effect, it just points to the huge risks of sports like mixed martial arts and boxing in general," said Dr. Charles Tator, a neurosurgery professor at University of Toronto and a director at the Canadian Concussion Centre.

Fighters do not use head protection at the professional level in MMA or boxing. Both sports have made adjustments over the years by changing things like glove size, fight length and the addition of doctors at ringside.

However, the head has remained unprotected and as a result, injury prevention efforts can only go so far. Hopkins said adding headgear would send his sport into decline.

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Boxing is a full contact, combat sport in which players often face a high risk of sustaining injuries . They can occur most frequently during training, so here are the best Head Guard: Make sure that you your head guard is properly cushioned, feels comfortable, easily breathable and easy to see out of.

Head injuries fall into two categories: external and internal. Learn more about both kinds, how to prevent them, and what to do if your child is injured . external injuries , usually involving the scalp. internal head injuries , which may involve the skull, the blood vessels within the skull, or the brain.

"This is professional, I think we should keep it authentic as possible," he said. "Just have the right teaching and training of physicians that can immediately stop the fight when a fight needs to be stopped."

Chris Nowinski, a founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, said changing training techniques might help when it comes to combat sport.

"The No. 1 change would be to not have head blows in sparring," Nowinski said from Boston. "You can imagine that for some fighters, it could be that 90 per cent of their hits to the head are in sparring and not fights.

"That would be a dramatic change if the culture changed around allowing head impacts in sparring."

Hopkins, for one, dismissed the suggestion.

"You can't subtract punches in training or in a fight and not go for the head," he said during a promotional stop in Toronto. "It doesn't make sense. It becomes a body-punching match."

As researchers and medical authorities learn more about concussions, head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the alarm bells ring louder.

Some sports — notably football — have made changes to limit contact at practice while others have instituted concussion protocols.

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A Combat Sports Legal Resource. More Study – More Head Injuries Documented From Wrestling than Boxing and Martial Arts. Adding to this site’s database of combative sports safety studies, a paper was recently published comparing the extent of hand/wrist injuries for MMA athletes compared

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"I think history shows that if you allow fighting, you're going to have catastrophic brain injuries," Nowinski said. "You might be able to do a bit to mitigate it but it's going to happen eventually no matter what we try to do to prevent it."

While the entire body can be more of a target in MMA, the head still takes a pounding. And it's not just with fists — blows can come via elbow, knee or a kick to the head.

In one notable fight at UFC 229 last October, Tony Ferguson landed 114 significant strikes to opponent Anthony Pettis over a bloody two-round fight. According to Fightmetric, Pettis took 66 shots to the head over the 10-minute span before stopping due to a broken hand.

Ferguson, meanwhile, absorbed 32 blows to the head from Pettis's 45 significant strikes. Both fighters looked like horror movie extras by the end, with their shorts and the mat riddled in blood.

Spectators at the Las Vegas arena lapped it up with broadcaster Joe Anik proudly proclaiming, 'Mixed martial arts!!" as the second round ended, just seconds after pointing out he'd been sprayed with blood while sitting in his cageside seat.

There is simply a demand for these violent sports. Whether that will change as fighters and the public learn more about the potential dangers remains to be seen.

"As we better understand the long-term effects of these impacts, I think the demand for these sports if they continue as they're going will diminish because it's hard to enjoy watching somebody get their brains bashed in," Nowinski said. "You might be thinking about how it affects their family in the future.

"But there still is further that we can go to reform the sports so I think we'll also see them get a little more humane as we go."

There may be changes down the road but it seems unlikely — at least at the moment — that the culture of boxing or MMA is ready for a revolution.

"We're in the business of hitting you in the head," Hopkins said. "My job when I was a fighter was to hit you anywhere that's legal to win, to break you down and submit you to my will.

"When it's a good fight, that means that the other guy has the same idea."

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