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Monday, 10 August 2009

Boxing bouts are not what youngsters need

This Daily Mail article made for uncomfortable weekend reading.

The BMA supports sports and hobbies aimed at improving children’s wellbeing and fitness, but not to the detriment of their long term health, which boxing can cause, such as potential brain damage.

It seems that it’s only schools in England who are looking at competing in these first inter-school boxing tournaments, which haven’t been around since the 1960s. Surely that’s where they should remain.

The BMA has campaigned for a ban on boxing since 1982 due to the physical dangers and harm it can cause. It can lead to brain damage, acute brain haemorrhage and eye, ear and nose damage. There is evidence that boxing not only causes acute brain injury but also chronic brain damage, which is sustained over a long period of time by those who survive a career in boxing. It may take many years before boxers and ex-boxers find out they are suffering from brain damage.

In 2005 the World Medical Association [WMA] stated that “Boxing is a dangerous sport. Unlike most other sports, its basic intent is to produce bodily harm in the opponent. Boxing can result in death and produce an alarming incidence of chronic brain injury. For this reason, the WMA recommends that boxing be banned.”

The re-introduction of boxing for youngsters leads to a bigger and more serious question for us as a society when, on the one hand, we’ve got repeated examples of young people attacking others on the streets and kicking them to death, which we seem to hear about far too often. It is then made difficult to explain to these youngsters who indulge in that kind of behaviour that they shouldn’t, when on the television they see adults punching each other, until one of them is knocked to the floor. It’s not really setting the best example now is it?

‘Boxing, an update from the Board of Science’ – the full report can be found on the BMA website at :

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