This is an issue that has been discussed behind the scenes for years, but now it has taken center stage in all contact sports. The NFL has had to deal with the problem of concussions and the long term debilitating effects associated with repetitive trauma to the head. Which resulted in the NFL settling in the brain injury lawsuit, which affected over 4500 football players and their families. The NFL agreed to pay 765 million dollars for withholding information regarding the negative affects of repetitive trauma to the brain.
This has been associated mostly with boxing over the years, but now that the NFL has had to step up and be more accountable for the safety of their athletes it makes you wonder what will be done if anything in combat sports. Obviously sports like mixed martial arts have to address this issue, the UFC is the leader in MMA and they have to step up and do what the NFL didn’t, put the athletes and their safety first. But where does the responsibility of the UFC end when a fighter retires after the damage to the brain has already been done? This is where the cry for a fighters union starts to grow legs, because we know that the problems resulting from these types of injuries can go unrecognized long after the fighter hangs up the gloves and without some type of insurance for the athletes after retirement they are left on their own.
(CTE) Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, this is the debilitating brain disease caused by repetitive brain traumas.
Dr. Charles Bernick, the lead researcher on the study and associate director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
“They see changes and their family sees changes and they want information,”
The fighters are evaluated once a year and undergo brain scans that can be compared over time to measure changes as they age. One thing the experts have noticed is that not everyone is affected the same way.
“There are some individuals who have a tremendous amount of exposure to head trauma and they do fine, so we’re trying to understand why that is.”
They’re looking into the possibility that genetics may play a role.
They’re also hoping that the study’s findings will be used to help make combat sports safer.
“For example, you may be able to develop a policy of how frequently somebody should fight,” to minimize the chances of lasting damage.
A number of organizations, including the Nevada Sports Commission and the mixed martial arts promoter UFC, are encouraging fighters to take part. Bernick says he hopes to have more than 700 athletes involved in the study by the end of the year.
What can be done? Let me hear your thoughts