Study Links Increased Risk of Brain Trauma in MMA to Fighter Age and Time Between Bouts

In my ongoing effort to highlight safety studies addressing combative sports, a thesis paper was recently published by the University of Ottawa’s Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences reviewing factors associated with head trauma in professional MMA.

The author analysed data from Fightmetric reviewing 7,134 rounds in the UFC, WEC and Strikeforce from 2004 – 2014.  The study noted several factors linked to higher rate of concussion, two of which were fighter age (older fighters being more susceptible to concussion) and time between bouts (with a shorter period between bouts being linked to a higher concussive rate).  On these points the author notes as follows –

Increasing age is positively associated with head trauma (p<.05; OR 3.2). Prolonging the time period in between fights is protective against head trauma (p<.05; OR 0.81)…

…the age at which a fighter steps into the octagon is associated with head trauma. The older the fighter, the more likely he or she is to suffer a concussion…

Moreover, the number of months in between a combatants fights is detrimental to the discussion of concussion in MMA. The more time, in months, the fighters spend resting or training prior to their next fight the less chance they will suffer a concussion during the fight. Strong evidence is lacking to identify an appropriate time-frame that fighters should adhere to before initiating training for their next fight..

The full study can be found here – Factors Associated With Head Trauma Among Professional Mixed Martial Arts Athletes

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