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Phys Sportsmed. 2015 Nov;43(4):395-402. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2015.1081551. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

Determining brain fitness to fight: Has the time come?

Author information

1
a 1 Department of Neurology, Norton Healthcare , Louisville, KY, USA.
2
b 2 Department of Neurology, University of Kentucky , KY, USA.
3
c 3 Kentucky State Boxing Commission , KY, USA.
4
d 4 Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Cleveland Clinic , Las Vegas, NV, USA.
5
e 5 Department of Neurology, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital , White Plains, NY, USA.
6
f 6 New York State Athletic Commission , NY, USA.
7
g 7 Department of Neurology, Backus Hospital , Norwich, CT, USA.
8
h 8 Department of Neurology, University of Connecticut , CT, USA.
9
i 9 Department of Emergency Medicine, Valley Hospital , Las Vegas, NV, USA.
10
j 10 Ultimate Fighting Championship , Las Vegas, NV, USA.
11
k 11 Department of Neurosurgery, Emerson Hospital , MA, USA.
12
l 12 Sports Legacy Institute , Boston, MA, USA.
13
m 13 Department of Pediatric Neurology, University of California at Los Angeles , CA, USA.
14
n 14 California State Athletic Commission , CA, USA.
15
o 15 Headache Center of Southern Nevada , Las Vegas, NV, USA.
16
p 16 Voluntary Anti-Doping Association , Las Vegas, NV, USA.
17
q 17 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Pro Spine Center , Vero Beach, FL , USA.

Abstract

Professional boxing is associated with a risk of chronic neurological injury, with up to 20-50% of former boxers exhibiting symptoms of chronic brain injury. Chronic traumatic brain injury encompasses a spectrum of disorders that are associated with long-term consequences of brain injury and remains the most difficult safety challenge in modern-day boxing. Despite these concerns, traditional guidelines used for return to sport participation after concussion are inconsistently applied in boxing. Furthermore, few athletic commissions require either formal consultation with a neurological specialist (i.e. neurologist, neurosurgeon, or neuropsychologist) or formal neuropsychological testing prior to return to fight. In order to protect the health of boxers and maintain the long-term viability of a sport associated with exposure to repetitive head trauma, we propose a set of specific requirements for brain safety that all state athletic commissions would implement.

KEYWORDS:

Concussion; boxing; dementia; return to play; traumatic brain injury

PMID:
26295482
DOI:
10.1080/00913847.2015.1081551
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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