Amateur Boxing is Safe
The safety of amateur boxing has been well documented. The 1998 National Safety Council ranked boxing 71st in sports injuries, well below mainstream sports like wrestling, football, baseball, soccer and even bowling. Most of the negative publicity about the sport is centered around professional boxing, which in fact is much different than amateur boxing.
No other amateur sport takes more precautions in regards to safety than amateur boxing. Amateur boxers must receive a physical examination before and after each competition and special protective equipment is mandatory for each competition. The primary objective of all amateur referees is the safety of the boxers. In addition, all competition gloves and headgear contain an exact combination of shock-absorbent foams to reduce the impact of the blow. Every possible precaution is taken to make amateur boxing safe.
Amateur boxing is a sport that rewards technical proficiency and the use of athleticism rather than the power of administering pain. For instance, the focus of amateur boxing is established on a point system where each technically correct punch is worth one point. Knockdowns are also worth just one point. The goal of each boxer is to score as many cumulative punches as possible, not take unnecessary punches in order to deliver one hard punch
Amateur boxing is not about knocking your opponent out, in fact less than one percent of all amateur boxing contests end in that fashion.
The safety guidelines in amateur boxing compared to other sports makes amateur boxing seem rather tame. Over 20% of all high school players suffer at least one concussion per season. This represents over 450,000 concussions annually and usually 10 – 15 deaths in high school football alone. Baseball is not far behind in that it has the distinction of having the highest fatality rate among all sports for children aged 5 – 14.
There are inevitable risks involved in any sport or activity, especially if the proper safety precautions are not established and adhered to. That is why amateur boxing’s governing body, USA Boxing, places such an ordinate amount of importance on following strict guidelines for safety in training and competition.
For example, in tracking eight years of amateur boxing competition in the National Silver Gloves program for ages 8 – 15, which involved over 2,700 youngsters who boxed over 2,000 bouts and competed for nearly 6,000 rounds, not one significant injury was reported or required emergency medical care. That translates to eight years and no injuries. Compare that statistic to one season of high school football and it is surprising to say the least.
Resources: John Brown