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It’s a no brainer: combat sports should be ground zero for research on concussion
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  • John S Bradley
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    Glovin' up
    • John S Bradley, NHS Principal Public Health Practitioner Public Health Wales NHS Trust

    Whilst better quality research into concussion in combat sports is welcomed; an equally important and related area of research is gaining insight into the often ‘concussion permissive’ training environments of the many combat sport schools across the country. In my earlier years of competitive MMA training ‘gym wars’ were a common occurrence. Training partners, often encouraged by the coaches, would spar (practice fight) at close to 100% power including strikes to the head. It was not uncommon to see someone get knocked out unconscious, checked on, dragged off to the side of matted training area, then once awakened, asked to continue with the sparring session! I believe over the years this type of training culture has become less prevalent with a growing emphasis on light-contact modified technical sparring or a greater reliance on more dynamic and modality specific pad-work drills. There is still a need though to understand the factors behind schools that promote this unsustainable culture of frequent hard sparring and identify and describe the behaviours behind it. Hopefully then efforts can be made to engage and influence the combat sport athletes to think twice before ‘glovin up’.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.