CSAC adopts new ABC rules, implementing neurological testing

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

At the 2016 Association of Boxing Commissions convention several changes to the Unified Rules of mixed martial arts were proposed by the ABC rules and regulations committee. The stellar group included fighters Randy Couture, Jeremy Horn, and Matt Hughes, MMA referees ‘Big’ John McCarthy, Robert Hinds and Kevin McDonald, and regulators Sean Wheelock, Matt Woodruff, and Brian Dunn, and Dr. David Watson. A number of members of the group have deep expertise in multiple areas. McDonald and Dunn, for example, are former fighters. Wheelock was at UFC 1, as was of course McCarthy.

The group proposed a refining of the definition of a downed fighter, means for referees to more ably stop eye pokes, a lifting of the prohibition on heel kicks to the kidneys, new judging criteria, and more. More complete details can be found here.

The new rules passed with near unanimity. Rhonda Utley-Herring, representing the New Jersey Athletic Commission, voted no, and offered a detailed explanation as to why. The membership did not find it compelling. Mississippi voted not present. And there was an abstention from Tennessee, which no longer has a functioning athletic commission.

The rules are set to take effect on January 1, although some commissions instituted them quicker. The influential California State Athletic Commission adopted the new rules at the December 10 meeting.

Meeting minutes also reveal that California will soon begin C3 Logix neurological testing. Mixed martial arts currently faces several serious issues – PED use, a culture of extreme weight cutting, CTE, a high injury rate, and inconsistent judging and reffing. The CSAC is industry leading in addressing various of these issues

The CSAC’s C3 Logix neurological testing provides neurocognitive data for fighters and is an important tool in the assessment of concussions and other types of mild brain trauma. Developed by the Cleveland Concussion Clinic, it provides reliable indicators and objective measurements for the clinician to assess a concussion and significantly reduces the subjectivity of diagnosing a concussion by assessing six domains of brain function, combining the results into one program. The C3 Logix Program combines computerized neurocognitive and memory testing assessment along with visual acuity, dynamic visual acuity, and balance testing. It will give the athletic training department and team physician at the College of Idaho more objective data to diagnose a concussion or mild brain trauma, relying less on subjective data which is all too often based on the athlete’s symptoms.

Administered via an iPad, that is at points placed on the fighter’s back and held in place with a belt, total time required to administer each test is approximately 16-17 minutes per fighter. C3 Logix utilizes six different areas of assessment for baseline comparison:
•Reaction Time
•Memory & Processing Speed
•Motor Function
•Vestibular Function

The result of measuring all six areas is literally a complete pictorial representation of brain function, as seen in this data visualization:

C3 Logix

The outer sides of the pentagon represent the athlete’s baseline test, with the inner portions representing testing following a concussion.

Source: College of Idaho