There are so many benefits you can get from boxing.
From gaining physical and mental strength to the feel of that unbeatable thrill of competing and wining, boxing is one of the best ways we can challenge ourselves.
Even so, it is a high-contact, combat sport. Boxing injuries, in particular head injuries, are all-too-common even with the regulations in place to protect boxers.
When you step into that ring, you set yourself up for harm.
Some are exposed greater than others. For instance, compare a professional bout to an amateur one.
In amateur fights, boxers wear far more protective gear and undergo fewer rounds.
In a professional bout, you fight longer, and there's nothing to keep you safe as the goal is to knock out the other guy. Sure, there are still injuries amateur boxers will face, but they don't appear as relentless as what professional fighters experience.
Illegal fights pose an even greater risk as there is generally nothing firm in place in terms of rules and keeping fighters safe.
A good way to avoid any permanent damage is to understand exactly what kind of damage you will potentially face.
A well-placed body shot can quickly end a match just as much as a powerful blow to the head.
One of the most common injuries is "boxer's fractures". Every fighter should be aware of that by now. To put it plainly, it involves the metacarpal bones in the hand that connect the fingers to the wrist. This type of injury is so common as it can occur even in training.
Other risks fighters have to look out for are broken ribs or dislocating their shoulder. The latter is typically caused by improper technique, and severe damage of the shoulder may even require surgery.
One of the more dangerous hits to the body a fighter can take though is the illegal kidney strike. It's a hit that has been generally ruled illegal due to the damage it causes, but that hasn't stopped some people from landing a dirty blow.
Heavy blows to the kidney can bruise the organ. These hits can cause bleeding, shock, and even total kidney failure.
Again, these shots are illegal, but there are those out there that still go for it. Generally, the only ways to avoid it is by making sure to never turn your back on an opponent who is clearly fighting dirty and have a good referee keeping an eye out.
Even though certain body injuries can take the fight out of a fighter permanently, head injuries have always remained the darkest sector of the boxing world.
These types of injuries have been studied for decades. The exact number of permanent injuries and death appears to be unknown, but there's no denying that people have died from hits to the head.
One injury just about every boxer has probably faced is a concussion and a loss of consciousness. You don't have to pass out to have a concussion, but it is common in the boxing world; we understand that as a "knockout" and a match won.
Anyone can recover from a concussion whether they were knocked unconscious or not. However, your brain will be more sensitive to damage afterward. Many boxers get back into fighting before their brains can fully heal, exposing the barely protected brain to more injury that can cause deterioration over the years.
Another major risk associated with blows to the head is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). This is still rather controversial as there's no real way to diagnose this until a person is dead and the brain is studied.
As of now, it's a bit rare, but fighters still should lookout for common symptoms that include cognitive impairment, short-term memory loss, and erratic/impulsive behavior (e.g. violent, suicidal).
As mentioned before, understanding the risks and damage associated with boxing is a step in the right direction to keeping yourself from having lasting injuries.
You'll learn how to better protect yourself from boxing injuries as well as when to seek medical attention or take a short break. Anything major may be the unfortunate indication that it's time to retire.
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