Amateur boxers are at serious risk of face and brain injuries, including concussion, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, which announced today that it will recommend that pediatricians discourage the sport for kids.
“We want children and teens to actively pursue sport and recreation, but boxing is not a good option,” said Claire LeBlanc, MD, FAAP, co-author of the new position statement and chair of the CPS Healthy Active Living and Sports Medicine Committee. “We recommend young people participate in sports where the prime focus is not deliberate blows to the head.”
We’ve come a long way in protecting kids from head injuries. Boxing was wildly popular in the 1920’s among both adults and even very young children:
But of course now know that children are far more vulnerable to concussion, and that recovery takes longer than it may for adults. Even though amateur boxers today may wear safety gear, there’s still no evidence to show that head guards actually reduce the incidence of concussions.
“While most sports have some risk of injury, boxing is especially dangerous because these athletes are rewarded for dedicated and deliberate hits to their opponent’s head,” said Dr. LeBlanc.
The announcement comes at a time when experts are taking a closer look at the incidence of head injuries among youth participants in contact sports.
New research from sports medicine specialists at A.T. Still University (ATSU) in Mesa found that the establishment of a baseline for each youth athlete before participation begins is key when it comes to concussion assessment down the road.
A new sideline assessment tool, the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool-2 (SCAT-2) developed at ATSU, may provide a more accurate way to diagnose a concussion quickly after an injury occurs. SCAT-2 was tested on students from 15 high schools in the Phoenix area.
Researchers found that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to determining whether an athlete is ready to return to play.
Gender can make a difference, as well as whether the athlete has had a concussion in the past. Find out more about baseline testing, or participating in an ATSU concussion study.