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Would you encourage your son or daughter box?

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Would you encourage your son or daughter box?

If children cannot make their own decisions in other areas of life, why allow them to participate in a form of organised violence?


Head trauma is one of the most talked about issues in elite sport right now. Sports the world over are struggling to deal with research that shows the dramatic long-term effects of even minor brain injuries. In the US, ice hockey and American football have implemented rule changes to try and minimise concussions. In the rest of the world, rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football and even soccer are grappling with the same problem. Then there's boxing - a sport in which the target is your opponent's brain. The short- and long-term ill effects are well known.

I find myself wondering, would I let a child of mine box? Would I encourage them? If not, does that make me a hypocrite if boxing is my favourite sport?

Former NFL lineman-turned-boxer Ray Edwards argued recently that boxing is safer than American football: "You play for a long time, chances are you are going to tear your MCL [anterior cruciate ligament] or ACL [medial collateral ligament]. You can break your leg, snap your femur, break your arm, break your neck."

In some senses, then, boxing is safer than other contact sports. But it's rather academic - the rare broken neck aside, I'd much rather my hypothetical child came away from a junior career with a dicky knee than a brain injury. It's easy to ignore it as fans, but injuries are the point of boxing; they're only incidental in other sports.

The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes children and teenagers being involved in boxing. They know what's up when it comes to what's good for kids. Many medical associations oppose boxing outright. Luckily, as fans, we can counter them with the argument that participants engage in the sweet science of their own free will. For that reason, boxing isn't as barbaric as cockfighting or dogfighting, pastimes that force two beings who cannot make decisions for themselves to hurt each other.

References and further information

The original article was produced by The Guardian website.


To view the rest of this article, visit The Guardian website.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/queensberry-rules-boxing-blog/2013/jun/11/would-encourage-son-daughter-box

 

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