Is It Safe For Young Boxers To Go Into The Ring?

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Boxers die.
It happens. In the amateurs and in the pros, in the ring or in the hospital, by hemorrhage or by hematoma: Every year, boxers are killed or seriously injured by fighting.
“You can play everything else, you can’t play boxing,” says Bernard Hackett, who was coaching his 12-year-old son, Durnell, at the Junior Golden Gloves National Championships in Nevada. “Boxing is a sport you don’t play.”
Young boxers and their coaches and parents know the immediate risk. As with football, hockey, gymnastics, lacrosse and rugby, they weigh it against so much else, and take comfort that catastrophic injuries are rare.
But, there is another danger: chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
The disease, which rots brains from the inside with a protein called tau, has been blamed for the death of at least one high school football player, and it’s been found in the brains of at least five others. It’s even been found in athletes who hadn’t previously been diagnosed with concussions. And it’s left some athletes’ parents absolutely terrified.
In recent years, peewee football leagues in Texas have eliminated tackling. Youth hockey and lacrosse leagues have prohibited checking. Even youth soccer leagues have done away with head balls until players reach adolescence.
Yet youth boxing’s rules remain unchanged.
For kids as young as 8, sparring remains mostly unregulated, the number of fights unlimited, gyms unmonitored by the sport’s governing bodies, and aggressive fighting styles encouraged: “showmanship,” the ability to entertain with aggression, fast hands and flashy style at the expense of defense, is widely understood to win favor from judges and, later, promoters?
What’s more, there are no national standards for ringside physicians. Only last month, USA Boxing, which sanctions amateur fights and fighters, announced it would begin requiring its youth athletes to obtain annual physicals.
Yet, USA Boxing Interim Executive Director Mike Martino insists, “it’s as safe as we can make the sport at this time.”
Brain experts disagree.
Pint-size pugilists might now rank among our nation’s most vulnerable young athletes, they say. But the depth of the danger remains unknown.
to read full article please visit:
Boxers die.
It happens. In the amateurs and in the pros, in the ring or in the hospital, by hemorrhage or by hematoma: Every year, boxers are killed or seriously injured by fighting.
“You can play everything else, you can’t play boxing,” says Bernard Hackett, who was coaching his 12-year-old son, Durnell, at the Junior Golden Gloves National Championships in Nevada. “Boxing is a sport you don’t play.”
Young boxers and their coaches and parents know the immediate risk. As with football, hockey, gymnastics, lacrosse and rugby, they weigh it against so much else, and take comfort that catastrophic injuries are rare.
But, there is another danger: chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
The disease, which rots brains from the inside with a protein called tau, has been blamed for the death of at least one high school football player, and it’s been found in the brains of at least five others. It’s even been found in athletes who hadn’t previously been diagnosed with concussions. And it’s left some athletes’ parents absolutely terrified.
In recent years, peewee football leagues in Texas have eliminated tackling. Youth hockey and lacrosse leagues have prohibited checking. Even youth soccer leagues have done away with head balls until players reach adolescence.
Yet youth boxing’s rules remain unchanged.
For kids as young as 8, sparring remains mostly unregulated, the number of fights unlimited, gyms unmonitored by the sport’s governing bodies, and aggressive fighting styles encouraged: “showmanship,” the ability to entertain with aggression, fast hands and flashy style at the expense of defense, is widely understood to win favor from judges and, later, promoters?
What’s more, there are no national standards for ringside physicians. Only last month, USA Boxing, which sanctions amateur fights and fighters, announced it would begin requiring its youth athletes to obtain annual physicals.
Yet, USA Boxing Interim Executive Director Mike Martino insists, “it’s as safe as we can make the sport at this time.”
Brain experts disagree.
Pint-size pugilists might now rank among our nation’s most vulnerable young athletes, they say. But the depth of the danger remains unknown.

To read full article, please go to: http://fusion.net/story/21483/the-little-fighters/

 

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