Objective: to collect medical data on women’s boxing.
Design: Cross-sectional and longitudinal study.
Setting: Medical examinations requested by Italian laws.
Participants: A retrospective study was conducted on all female boxing competitions in Italy from April 2001 to December 2007. Sixty-one amateur female boxers were evaluated longitudinally.
Interventions: Retrospective study: all pre-/post-match medical reports were analyzed. Prospective study: Breast, gynaecologic, brain, eyes, ear, nose and throat examinations were carried out.
Main outcome measurements: Retrospective study: any injury assessed before/after the match. Prospective study: health problems which could be related to boxing activity.
Results: Retrospective study: data from 5600 examinations were collected. Pre-competition, a medical problem was recorded in 3 athletes (1 conjunctiva hyperemia, 1 zygomatic bruise, 1 eyelid hematoma). Post-competition, 51/2800 medical checks showed mild common injuries, such as, soft tissue facial lesions, epistaxis, and hand-wrist problems. Only one concussion was recorded with hospitalization (for a thorough evaluation). Another athlete was hospitalized for a nasal fracture. Prospective study: 2 fibroadenomas, 3 ovarian cysts, and 1 intramural uterine myoma were diagnosed. In 4 boxers non-specific electroencephalographic abnormalities were detected however with a normal brain MRI in 3 (the 4th is still waiting for the radiologic procedure). Nasal septum deviation was common (42.6%) and a transmissive hypoacusia was observed in 2 athletes. No major eye injuries were reported.
Conclusions: Female boxing seems to be a safe sport with a very low incidence of events requiring hospitalization. No specific diseases in female boxers could be observed, in particular regarding the breast and reproductive system.