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 (1) Retrospective study: All pre-/postmatch medical reports were analysed. (2) Prospective study: Breast, gynaecologic, brain, eyes, ear, nose and throat examinations were carried out.
Main outcome measurements (1) Retrospective study: Any injury assessed before/after the match. (2) Prospective study: Health problems which could be related to boxing activity.
Results (1) Retrospective study: Data from 5600 examinations were collected. Precompetition, a medical problem was recorded in three athletes (one conjunctiva hyperemia, one zygomatic bruise, one eyelid haematoma). 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 hospitalisation (for a thorough evaluation). Another athlete was hospitalised for a nasal fracture. (2) Prospective study: Two fibroadenomas, three ovarian cysts and one intramural uterine myoma were diagnosed. In four boxers, non-specific electroencephalographic abnormalities were detected, however, with a normal brain MRI in three (the fourth is still waiting for the radiologic procedure). Nasal septum deviation was common (42.6%) and a transmissive hypoacusia was observed in two athletes. No major eye injuries were reported.
Conclusions Female boxing seems to be a safe sport with a very low incidence of events requiring hospitalisation. No specific diseases in female boxers could be observed, in particular regarding the breast and reproductive system.
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Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Italian Boxing Federation.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.