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.”
For More Information:
- Amateur boxing: headguards removed for men but not women, BBC Sport
- Boxing group bans headgear to reduce concussions, Fox News
- International Boxing to BAN Headgear, The Concussion Blog