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Thread: Study: Brain trauma in 30% of MMA fights

  1. #1
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    Default Study: Brain trauma in 30% of MMA fights

    http://www.mixedmartialarts.com/news...of-MMA-fights/

    A new Canadian study 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.

    The University of Toronto researchers analyzed seven years of UFC scorecards — which detail when a fight ends with a knockout or technical knockout — as well as watching videotape of bouts. 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, note the authors of the paper, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

    “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.

    In barely a couple of decades, MMA has won a wide following in numerous countries, with one marketing company last year estimating its worldwide audience to be 300 million people.

    Fighters are allowed to kick and punch, as well as employ wrestling-like techniques on the ground in bouts often conducted inside a chain-link-fence “octagon.” Some events pay cash rewards for the “knockout of the night.”

    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 analysed 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” — sometimes known as boxer’s dementia — 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.

  2. #2
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    In an unrelated study, research showed that 90% of refs are fucking terrible and often fail to prevent unnecessary damage.***






























    *** Fictitious study. Did not actually happen.

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    I'd really like to support this because UoT is a great school, but jesus. At most this speculation, there's no medical evidence other than "Well he got hit in the face, that's never good for the brain!"

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    It's a good thing that the UFC changed their policy to "performance of the night," eh?

    And the researchers found an average of 2.6 head strikes after a knockout, inflicted on unconscious fighters.
    Does this mean Hendo still owes Bisping 1.6 shots?

    rh
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  5. #5

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    Hutchison has done some great work in concussions in the NHL. He does have a point as repeated blows after someone has been knocked down can lead to severe brain trauma. The caveat with this study is that an association is made that ALL repeated blows (the surrogate outcome) lead to brain trauma (the actual outcome of interest). I'm sure there is a high correlation between the two but not all necessarily lead to it.

    However, this point does clearly suggest that more research is needed in MMA fighters. I think calling it the safest sport is bullshit just because there hasn't been any long-term studies evaluating harms associated with fighting. Lack of evidence does not suggest evidence of absence. It's still a young sport and we will see the detrimental effects soon from the older fighters.

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    Even though I agree with the premise, they still need to have some actual empirical data before they start giving soundbytes. Checking some stat cards and watching some film isn't going to change anyone's mind, it's just going to open them up to criticism that can't be invalidated at this point of their project.

    rh
    All manner of men came to work for the News: everything from wild young Turks who wanted to rip the world in half and start all over again -- to tired, beer-bellied old hacks who wanted nothing more than to live out their days in peace before a bunch of lunatics ripped the world in half.

    Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
    The Rum Diary

    Yeah, Bye.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by rivethead View Post
    Even though I agree with the premise, they still need to have some actual empirical data before they start giving soundbytes. Checking some stat cards and watching some film isn't going to change anyone's mind, it's just going to open them up to criticism that can't be invalidated at this point of their project.
    Being in the world of medical research, I'm not surprised at how they went about it. Many times, it is quite difficult to obtain funding or support for long-term prospective studies without previous evidence to support such an initiative. Medical researchers generally first go about it with case reports, and secondary analyses based on data that they are able to obtain. I'm sure their report clearly states that it's a speculative association and more direct data is needed, but the media probably spun it the way it was reported. However, this report and the associated publicity will likely generate more interest and funds to support longer-term more definitive studies.

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    that makes sense.

    You wouldn't believe some of the media misfires I've read about marijuana studies lately...it goes beyond bad reporting and into the realm of taking a kernel of truth and spinning it into made-up crap.

    I didn't stop to think about how many times I've been misquoted, or how the actual researchers must think when they read the mashup of their efforts. huh.

    rh
    All manner of men came to work for the News: everything from wild young Turks who wanted to rip the world in half and start all over again -- to tired, beer-bellied old hacks who wanted nothing more than to live out their days in peace before a bunch of lunatics ripped the world in half.

    Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
    The Rum Diary

    Yeah, Bye.

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    I'd love to see some information that doesn't have the words "likely, probable, probably, not definitive, may etc, etc" when also talking about any type of banning.

    I understand the need to promote your fieldwork for some funds, and the gravity of TBI's, but I hate when unsubstantiated articles shed a negative light on things.
    You have to know what you don't know.

  10. #10
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    Agreed, the first thing I did was highlight:
    “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.”
    And pretty much discredited everything from there.
    You say shark I say hey man, Jaws was never my scene and I don't like Star Wars

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