More Combat Sport Safety Advice from the Association of Ringside Physicians

Education is key when it comes to the sensible regulation of combat sports.  To this end the Association of Ringside Physicians is doing a good job addressing some of the key issues in combat sports, namely PED use, weight cut practices and issues related to head trauma.

In addition to their highly publicized consensus statement calling for the elimination of TRT TUE’s, the Association of Ringside Physicians has released three further consensus statements addressing the use of headgear in amateur boxing, the safest mouthguards for combat sports and a list of recommendations to improve boxing safety which include caps on weight cuts.

You can find these latest statements here:

ARP Consensus Statement on Mouthguards for Combat Sports Athletes

ARP Consensus Statemet on Headgear in Amateur Boxing

ARP Medical Recommendations to Improve Boxing Safety

Below are the highlights:

Mouthguards

The Association of Ringside Physicians supports and recommends
the use of custom-fit dual arch (upper and lower) mouthpieces for
the protection of the teeth and temporo-mandibular joints. The
continued research into additional benefits of dual arch
mouthpieces is further encouraged.

Headgear for Amateur Boxing

There are fewer head and facial injuries when using headgear in
amateur boxing. Amateur boxing is a relatively safe sport and
eliminating headgear will make amateur boxing less safe. The
Association of Ringside Physicians supports the continued use of
headgear in amateur boxing as well as efforts to improve the
effectiveness of the headgear.

Safety Recommendations for Improved Safety in Boxing

Uniform regulations and safety standards are required to protect combat athletes. In any
inherently dangerous sport, it is imperative that these recommendations be reviewed,
considered and adopted. Evidence based on sound research is always needed to keep any
such recommendations relevant and we ask all of our ringside physician experts to continue to
investigate and develop protocols to improve combat sports.

Below are the Association of Ringside Physicians’ Recommendations:

1. All sparring should take place with oversized gloves to minimize the cumulative forces of
the punches during training. (i.e., Heavyweights 20-22 oz gloves…Middleweights 16 oz gloves
and lightweights 12 oz gloves, etc.)

2. Minimize head shots during training to decrease the likelihood of pre-existing damage prior
to entering the ring for the competition.

3. All states immediately adopt the minimum medical requirements of the ABC and ARP. If
these requirements are not adopted, the ARP asks promoters and sanctioning bodies to
consider not holding boxing matches in these venues until they comply with these
recommendations.

4. Boxers who have not fought for over 12 months should not fight more than 10 rounds. The
question of inactivity raises concerns about the likelihood of increased risks of injuries based
on inactivity and conditioning.

5. Fighter’s not be permitted to lose more than 3% body weight at the weigh-in before a fight.
Additionally, no fighter gaining more than 5% body weight should be permitted to compete
after the weigh-in.

6. Medical data bank is implemented immediately to follow the medical history during a
boxer’s career.

7. Promoters, managers, corner men, commissioners are encouraged to anonymously report
boxer’s whom they believe are showing early changes consistent with brain damage. This
information will then be investigated and (if necessary) be utilized to require more tests or to
terminate a boxer’s career.

8. The ringside physician and EMS personnel should remain at the venue until all the
competitors have left the competition/locker area.

9. The ringside physician should notify the local hospital and on-call neurosurgeon that a
boxing match will be taking place.

10. No fighter who is Hepatitis C or HIV antibody positive should be permitted to fight even if
the virus is undetectable in their blood.*

11. Further research (i.e. the medical severity index, the Impact concussion study, rapid
HIV/infectious disease testing, etc.) is encouraged and should be utilized to determine those
at greater risk for injury.

12. A minimum of two ringside physicians should attend every boxing match

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