A lawsuit was filed following the death of a teenage hobbyist boxer in Australia.
The boxer, George Diamond, passed away after sustaining traumatic brain injury in 2019 while sparring. Shortly before that the teenager suffered a concussion while sparring at the same gym.
The teen’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Supreme Court in Victoria. Central to the allegations of wrongdoing against the gym are claims of brain health ignorance with the AGE reporting as follows
“They allege the boxing gym operated without the oversight of anyone trained in concussion management and without policies or procedures on concussions, or adequate information available to members about head injuries.”
An autopsy report found Diamond died of of acute chronic subdural haemorrhage.
While none of the allegations have been proven in court they can serve as a wake up call to the combat sports community.
Real harm can come from dangerous sparring practices, from not having adequate policies in place for concussion recognition and safe return to sport following concussion and other practices which fail to recognize brain health. To put it bluntly combat sports gyms are in the brain trauma business and having brain health ignorance can fuel a negligence lawsuit.
Brain health ignorance is rampant in the largely unregulated combat sports gym industry with one recent study finding that less than 6% of polled combat sports coaches displayed adequate brain health knowledge. A dismal figure which can not only lead to real harm of athletes but also to litigation as the above case illustrates.
If you are involved in the combat sports industry best practices dictate being informed about brain health safety, implementing and sticking to good protocols when it comes to sparring, concussion recognition and safe return to sport following suspected concussion.