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UnderGround Forums >> Study: Brain trauma in 30% of MMA fights


3/27/14 10:29 AM
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MixedMartialArts.com
 

A new Canadian study published in American Journal of Sports Medicine, concluded that mixed martial arts fighter suffers a traumatic brain injury in nearly 30% of professional fights. The rate was higher than that for football, hockey, or even boxing.

Researchers at the University of Toronto studied all UFC fight results from 2006 to 2012, and reviewed video of the bouts.

Among the findings of the study were:
•Average time between the KO-strike and match stoppage was 3.5 seconds, with losers sustaining an average of 2.6 additional strikes to the head.
•For TKOs secondary to strikes, in the 30-second interval immediately preceding match stoppage, losers sustained, on average, 18.5 strikes, with 92.3% of these being strikes to the head.
Rates of KOs and TKOs in MMA are higher than previously reported rates in other combative and contact sports. 

They concluded the damage done to MMA fighters is likely exacerbated by the “surprising,” repeated blows to the head delivered after they have already been put out cold.

The researchers suggest banning the growing sport among young people, and instituting rules at the pro level that limit action after a competitor is downed, much like the 10-second count in boxing.

Concussions have become a hot topic in hockey and football, as evidence mounts of their potentially debilitating long-term impact, but received relatively little attention in MMA.

“This draws attention to the fact that relevant questions need to be asked of a sport for which the objective at some level is to knock them out,” said Michael Hutchison, a U of T kinesiology professor and lead author.

“The [knocked out] person is rendered unable to defend themselves, and then they’re getting multiple strikes to their head. That’s probably not good for one’s health.”

The UFC - the sport’s dominant promotional company - is still reviewing the “technical medical document” and is not ready to comment on it yet, said Steve Keogh.

Despite its popularity, the sport has long faced criticism, with several medical associations calling for its banning, and some provinces and states doing so.

There is little empirical data, though, on its relative safety.

The study conducted by Prof. Hutchison and doctors at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto did not involve actual medical diagnosis of MMA fighters.

Instead, they analyzed the publicly available scorecards from professional UFC matches, which indicate whether a fight ended in a knockout or TKO. While not definitive evidence, it is probable that a knockout, where the fighter loses consciousness, involves a concussion or more severe brain injury, said Prof. Hutchison.

The researchers also analyzed video to find technical knockouts that involved multiple strikes to the head, which they also suggest likely represent a traumatic brain injury.

They detected an average of 6.4 knockouts per athlete for every 100 fights, or “athlete exposures.” When the multiple-strike TKOs were added, the total of suspected brain injuries climbed to 15.9 per athlete per 100 bouts, or one concussion-like injury in 32% of matches.

That compares to rates, found in other studies, of 4.9 concussions per 100 athlete exposures in boxing, 2.2 per 100 in hockey and 8.08 per 100 in football, the paper said.

Analysis of the fight video suggested that 90% of the TKOs were a result of repetitive strikes. “The 30 seconds before match stoppage was characterized by the losing competitor sustaining a flurry of multiple strikes to the head,” said the study.

Half of the knockouts occurred because of blows to the mandible, or lower jaw.

And the researchers found an average of 2.6 head strikes after a knockout, inflicted on unconscious fighters.

Evidence that such injuries can result in structural damage to the brain and “chronic traumatic encephalopathy”  makes a strong argument that MMA should be banned for youth, and made safer for professionals, the researchers say.

UFC should consider a rule that would halt the bout at least temporarily after a competitor is knocked down, and require mandatory imaging scans of fighters who suffer knockouts or TKOs, they say.

Read entire article…
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In comparing boxing with MMA, the study is egregiously flawed. The standard for stopping a professional boxing match is of course that the fighter is unconscious or at least unable to move for a 10 count. In MMA the moment a fighter is in danger and unable to intelligently defend, the bout is stopped.

Comparing the reported 4.9 concussions per 100 athletes in boxing and unfavorably comparing that rate to MMA, without any medical professional actually assessing even a single UFC fighter, seems absurd, designed not to illuminate, but to garner misled media coverage.

Further, the authors are clearly not mindful of the fact that nearly every step taken to improve safety in boxing has had the opposite of the intended effect. Boxing gloves allowed harder blows leading to more head trauma, the standing 8 count serves only to prolong the amount of damage a fighter sustains, etc.

Yet another major flaw in the study is the assumption that CTE comes from KOs, rather than from repeated lesser trauma. There is no scientific evidence to back up the position.

The study's conclusion reads:
Conclusion: Rates of KOs and TKOs in MMA are higher than previously reported rates in other combative and contact sports.

A KO and TKO in MMA is not the same as a KO and TKO in boxing, so the entire conclusion of the effort is fundamentally flawed - comparing apples to oranges, without the understanding that they are different fruits. A monkey knows better.

The single step that would radically reduce brain trauma in MMA is, ironically, ending the use of gauze and tape on hands, or even the use of gloves.


3/27/14 10:37 AM
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gokudamus
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and this is why more rigorous PED testing is necessary...they arent hitting balls with bats here...they are hitting heads with shins and fists

3/27/14 10:42 AM
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BrattMamley
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3/27/14 10:44 AM
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CAT DAMMIT
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Look @ dat gif Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 10:44 AM
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CAT DAMMIT
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CAT DAMMIT - Look @ dat gif Phone Post 3.0
LOL*


CATDAMMIT! Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 10:45 AM
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dubate
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I could be wrong, but I believe that most of the brain damage that occurs is not from the knockout blow; but rather from repeated blows to the head which is why many boxers who are in their 40s seem to have a difficult time with speech. Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 10:47 AM
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Qannebiss
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Lots of assumptions being made in that study. Not a single fighter was actually observed or diagnosed in the course of the study. It's based on the probability that a knockout involves a concussion and on the assumption that blows to an unconscious opponent exacerbate any damage that comes as a result of these blows.

While these are not unreasonable assumptions to make, they're not exactly the basis for good science either. Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 10:48 AM
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Qannebiss
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dubate - I could be wrong, but I believe that most of the brain damage that occurs is not from the knockout blow; but rather from repeated blows to the head which is why many boxers who are in their 40s seem to have a difficult time with speech. Phone Post 3.0
I've often argued this as well. Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 11:02 AM
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John Crouch
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Lots of assumptions being made in that study. Not a single fighter was actually observed or diagnosed in the course of the study. It's based on the probability that a knockout involves a concussion and on the assumption that blows to an unconscious opponent exacerbate any damage that comes as a result of these blows.

While these are not unreasonable assumptions to make, they're not exactly the basis for good science either.

This.... Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 11:13 AM
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sssfRyan
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Very poorly done. How can you compare to other sports when you go just off of ko's? A concussion doesn't necessarily result in loss of consciousness and frequently doesn't. A friend of mine who played professional football said he used to get mild ones every game, if not practice Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 11:25 AM
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Dillonpeterliam
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What a load of bollox! "sssfRyan " says it well above.

I'm sure the Culinary Union and NY will love this report.
3/27/14 11:29 AM
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knee smash
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MMA has had a problem with people wailing on unconscious fighters for a long time, yet people continue to just dismiss it with stupid reasoning like the fighter being in a zone or the ref hasn't dived on top of him yet, meanwhile people go insane over barely late submissions like palhares on pierce.
3/27/14 11:29 AM
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DWTF
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No hard facts here, just observations.

 

A solid study would do everyone justice.

3/27/14 11:34 AM
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flemingo
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no shit is all i'm saying
pugilists' dementia is a risk that you take when you get punched in the head for a living. Also the study is shit i've seen boxers with tko's have trouble standing while mma guy's are happy to shake hands and maintain coherent conversations post tko although the inverse has occurred too (albeit less often). The level is probably comparable to boxing if not below the level in boxing. Still if you're going to compete pugilists' dementia is a real possibility look at gary goodridge if you want an example
3/27/14 11:38 AM
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3/27/14 11:39 AM
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TzTinkle
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Qannebiss - Lots of assumptions being made in that study. Not a single fighter was actually observed or diagnosed in the course of the study. It's based on the probability that a knockout involves a concussion and on the assumption that blows to an unconscious opponent exacerbate any damage that comes as a result of these blows.

While these are not unreasonable assumptions to make, they're not exactly the basis for good science either. Phone Post 3.0

It does not matter one bit what this study says. CTE has been found in almost every football player, some soccer players, and every boxer ever examined. We can say with near certainty that the vast majority of MMA fighters have CTE. The argument is over what the effects will be 10-30 years down the line.
3/27/14 11:46 AM
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kingjames100
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So no actual medical records were reviewed, just the fights themselves?

This "study" has brain trauma.
3/27/14 11:46 AM
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3/27/14 11:49 AM
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THP
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Please tell me that bellator ref was fired
3/27/14 11:50 AM
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jdindiana
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*A special thank you to the Culinary Workers Union for funding this study Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 11:53 AM
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DoomFarmer
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Guess that means we need headgears to clean up the sport, right guys? Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 12:01 PM
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RATheGod
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Edited: 03/27/14 12:58 PM
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Who wouldve ever thought things like this would be bad for your health?... http://cdn2.sbnation.com/fan_shot_images/244098/4.gif<br /><br />http://www.themmanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/UFC-on-Fuel-tv-4-Weidman-stops-Munoz.gif
3/27/14 12:28 PM
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nni
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Who would've thunk.
3/27/14 12:28 PM
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Qannebiss
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TzTinkle -
Qannebiss - Lots of assumptions being made in that study. Not a single fighter was actually observed or diagnosed in the course of the study. It's based on the probability that a knockout involves a concussion and on the assumption that blows to an unconscious opponent exacerbate any damage that comes as a result of these blows.

While these are not unreasonable assumptions to make, they're not exactly the basis for good science either. Phone Post 3.0

It does not matter one bit what this study says. CTE has been found in almost every football player, some soccer players, and every boxer ever examined. We can say with near certainty that the vast majority of MMA fighters have CTE. The argument is over what the effects will be 10-30 years down the line.
Did you mean to quote my post or was it accidental? Phone Post 3.0
3/27/14 12:39 PM
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TzTinkle
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It was more of a general reply. I feel that studying MMA fighters is pointless. The research has been done on football and hockey players along with boxers. There is simply no safe level of sudden acceleration applied to the skull whether it be from a punch, whiplash, or soccer ball. I would like to see what kind of research is being done on neuroprotective compounds, hopefully the TBI researchers with the Army come up with something.

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