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Making boxing safer: the case for establishing NO? GO criteria in boxing

MOJ Sports Medicine
Nitin K Sethi, MD

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Background: Professional boxing is a popular contact sport with a high risk for both acute and chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although rare, many boxers have died in the ring or soon after the completion of a bout. The most common causes of death in these cases are usually acute subdural hematomas, acute epidural hematomas, a subarachnoid haemorrhage, an intracranial haemorrhage or Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). Discussion: After the recent tragic death of fighters in the ring, renewed calls have been made to make boxing safer and even to ban the sport altogether. While boxing could be banned in some countries, a total ban on boxing cannot be logistically implemented. A far more practical discussion involves on how to make the sport more safer. In this commentary NO?GO criteria in boxing are defined based on based on personal and collective evidence of experienced ringside physicians and clinical acumen. Conclusion: Standardising medical stoppage decisions in boxing with the help of clearly defined NO?GO criteria will help to protect a boxer’s health and safety in the ring. Good practice guidelines for screening and management of high?risk fighters are also suggested. It is recommended that the medical community debate the proposed guidelines and NO?GO criteria vigorously, in order that evidence?based guidelines can be developed in conjunction with professional boxing governing bodies. 


boxing, safety, concussion, knockout, medical stoppage, traumatic brain injury, contact sports, ringside physician