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Old 03-21-2013, 08:50 AM   #1
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Default Headgear for amateur and elite boxers to be banned in a bid to REDUCE head injuries

Headgear for amateur boxers to be banned in a bid to REDUCE head injuries

New rules from International Boxing Association (AIBA) apply from June
Elite male boxers who compete internationally will not wear headgear
Theory is that opponents apply less force if the head is unprotected
Research has found that the move actually reduces the risk of concussion

By Anna Hodgekiss

PUBLISHED: 13:24 GMT, 15 March 2013 | UPDATED: 14:04 GMT, 15 March 2013

Amateur boxers are to be banned from wearing headgear in a bid to reduce the number of head injuries.

While the move sounds counter-intuitive, the theory is that opponents don't apply so much force if the head is unprotected.

The new rules, from the International Boxing Association (AIBA), state that from June 1st, amateur, elite male boxers who compete internationally will be banned from wearing headgear, like their professional counterparts.

Another reason for the move is that headgear can obscure peripheral vision, making it harder to see when a blow is being aimed at the side of the head. Indeed, research has shown that a lack of headgear actually reduces the risk of concussion.
Protection: While the move sounds counterintuitive, the theory is that boxers won't hit their opponent's head so hard if it's not protected

Protection: While the move sounds counterintuitive, the theory is that boxers won't hit their opponent's head so hard if it's not protected

In a statement, the AIBA said: 'All available data indicated that the removal of headguard in Elite Men would result in a decreased number of concussions.'

Although cuts will still be a risk, these will heal, as will bones - 'but if you can't recognise your grandchildren, it's a disaster,' Charles Butler, chairman of the AIBA medical commission, told the Wall Street Journal. He has worked on research which formed the basis of the recommendations.

He looked at research involving 15,000 boxers, half of whom had competed with headgear and half without.

He found that in the 7,352 rounds that took place with boxers wearing headgear, the rate of concussion was 0.38 per cent, compared with 0.17 per cent per boxer per round in the 7,545 rounds without headgear.

Amateur boxers have been required to wear headgear since the 1980s after concerns about concussion.

But Mr Butler added that technology meant that gloves have also improved since then, helping to reduce the impact of blows to the head.

But some experts have criticised the new guidance, adding that knockouts often come from hits to the chin.

And the rules will remain unchanged for women, the theory being that women may lack the strength to administer blows strong enough to cause concussion.

The AIBA announcement comes after new research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found there was 'no good evidence that mouthguards and helmets ward off concussion'.

The researchers agreed that while they can help ward off other serious head and facial injuries, there was 'no good evidence that they can help prevent concussion, and paradoxically, they may even encourage players to take greater risks'.

The advice comes at a time of increasing evidence that even minor head injuries can be deadly in the long-term.

Research published last week suggests that repeated, sub-concussive hits to the head are dangerous and are also linked to neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, later in life.

Scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center say that the brain degeneration observed among professional football players may be due to something in their immune system spiralling out of control.

This could be because it damages the blood-brain barrier - a 'gate' between the brain and bloodstream. When the barrier is working properly, it holds in proteins and molecules that bathe the brain and protect it from foreign substances.

With blows to the head, however, the barrier opens slightly and allows some proteins to leak into the bloodstream and possibly attack the brain.

Other recent research from the University of Texas has warned that heading a football could cause brain damage.

They said that a header is classed as a 'minor sub-concussive blow' and have found that young people who play football are less able to perform tasks requiring basic thinking skills than those who avoid the game.

Repeated blows to the head can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), where sufferers experience memory loss, dementia and depression.
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