Boxing Bans Headgear to Reduce Concussions

Remove headgear from boxing to reduce concussions? Seems counterproductive, but that’s exactly what the International Boxing Association has done.

BBC Sport reports that researchers believe removing headgear will deter boxers from using their head as a weapon or hitting opponents as hard since they would feel less protected. Headgear also makes the head a bigger target and makes side hits harder to see.

Dr. Charles Butler, retired surgeon and ringside doctor, led the study that supported this recommendation. Out of 15,000 boxing rounds studied, the rate of concussion for boxers with headgear was 0.38 per cent, more than twice the rate for boxers without headgear.

The rule change will be effective June 1 and implemented at the amateur level since professional boxers don’t compete with headgear. Women and younger fighters will be allowed to continue to wear headgear to protect them from cuts.

Concussion protection is the greater concern behind this study. If you get a cut or break a bone, it will heal, says Dr. Butler. But “if you can’t recognize your grandchildren, it’s a disaster.”

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Nicholas Tsoi
Nicholas Tsoi joined Slater Vecchio in August 2011. Nicholas has represented clients in the Provincial and Supreme Courts of British Columbia and the British Columbia Court of Appeal.