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Because not all blows to the head are the same
  1. É C Falvey 1 , 2,
  2. P McCrory 3
  1. 1 Department of Medicine, University College Cork, Ireland, Irish Amateur Boxing Association, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Sports Surgery Clinic, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3 The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne Brain Centre—Austin Campus, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr P McCrory, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne Brain Centre—Austin Campus, 245 Burgundy Street, Heidelberg Vic 3084 Australia; paulmccr{at}bigpond.net.au

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Introduction

This case illustrates a specific medical risk with this rule change where an amateur boxer suffered an acute subdural haematoma following an Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) sanctioned event.

Boxing, by its very nature, carries a risk of injury, particularly brain injury. Within amateur boxing, the AIBA is the international sporting federation that has the governance and medical oversight of all Olympic and international competition. AIBA has been mindful of boxers’ health and has instituted a number of rule changes over the past six decades that have been aimed at improving safety and reducing the injury risk for boxers.1

AIBA has recently changed its rules to remove helmets and head protectors for international competition and is currently proposing similar rule changes for helmets not to be used at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics Games. The removal of head protectors in amateur boxing has the potential to increase head and brain injury rates and it is prudent to consider the evidence for and against such a proposed change at this level of competition.2

A critical issue in interpreting the available evidence about the use of headgear for preventing head injuries in sport over time is that headgear rules have coincided with other rule changes or implementation that could also have influenced head injury risk.1 Furthermore, the proposed rule changes may change the nature of the way amateur boxing is conducted, which in turn may result in more head impacts from both glove and head to head contact.

This case illustrates a specific medical risk with this rule change where an amateur boxer suffered an acute subdural haematoma following an AIBA sanctioned event.

Case report

A 22-year-old male boxer with 5 years senior international experience was competing in a multinational event in the 54 kg division. He won the competition having …

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