Despite being considered by experts as less dangerous than horse riding, gymnastics, and scuba diving, the visual brutality of boxing leads many people to believe it is one of the most dangerous sports out there. In fact, several countries, like Norway, Cuba, and North Korea, have banned boxing altogether. Regardless of your feelings of the sport, boxing can result in both minor and major injuries. Here, we’re going to look at some of the most common injuries sustained by boxers.
Boxer’s fracture is a fracture that occurs in the metacarpal bones, the bones in your hand that run from the wrist and join up with the fingers. It most commonly occurs as a result of punching an immobile object, and the damage is usually sustained to the bones below the ring and little fingers, although it can occur in the others as well. Fractures in the nose, jaw, and ribs are not uncommon.
If you sustain the injury, you will notice pain and swelling immediately. You will also find it difficult to move the fingers above the fracture, and bruising will soon set in. About 20% of boxers will experience this injury at some point.
Cuts & Bruises
Less painful but far more common injuries are cuts & bruises. These can occur anywhere a person is punched, but are usually reported in the head. Cuts are rare in amateur boxing where protective headgear is used, but more common in the professional levels. Bruises occur commonly at any level.
Once a cut has been properly cleaned and covered, only time can heal them. Bruises also need time to heal, but some of the discomfort can be alleviated by using cold packs, or applying ice wrapped in a tea-towel to the affected area.
Concussions are among the most serious injuries of all contact sports, with many experts arguing that years of sustaining repeated blows to the head can cause permanent damage. A concussion occurs when a serious blow to the head causes the brain to move around inside the skull, usually causing the person to enter a dazed or confused state. If a person is hit in the head and seems dazed, nauseous, or complains of a headache, it is crucial to seek medical attention and not let the fall asleep.
Another injury that is both painful and sudden is a dislocated shoulder. The sooner a dislocated shoulder is treated, the less serious the effects will be. This is especially true as we get older, as there is a risk of the shoulder healing improperly and “freezing”, meaning it could become immobile. Once the shoulder has been put back in its proper position, there will be considerably less pain, but the area will require plenty of rest for several weeks to allow it to heal.
Like all contact sports, there are some serious and some not-so-serious injuries that can be incurred when boxing. The key to avoiding these injuries is to educate yourself on the risks, stretch and warm up, follow the proper forms and techniques, and to play by the rules. Doing this will help you avoid injuring yourself, and prevent you from missing weeks or months of taking part.