What does our Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist say?
Boxer Nick Blackwell has thankfully woken up after almost seven days in an induced coma. Blackwell was taken to hospital last month after his British middleweight title fight with Chris Eubank Jr was stopped in the 10th round. He was placed in to an induced coma after a bleed was suspected on his brain. Former boxer Spencer Oliver said that the large swelling over Nick Blackwell’s eye that caused the doctor to stop the fight probably saved the 25 year old’s life. Spencer Oliver himself had a blood clot removed from his brain following a boxing match in 1998.
Statistics show that 25-35 people per 100,000 are admitted to hospital suffering a brain injury every year, ranging from mild to severe injuries.
Mr LJ Conradie, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist at Psicon (who has been specialising in brain injury assessment and rehabilitation for the last 20 years) said “Any sport where the athlete receives blows to the head should be considered dangerous. Sports like boxing where the athletes’ head is targeted will cause severe injuries and there is no one boxer that can say it will not happen to them. We know that blows to the head (and it doesn’t have to be severe) can cause brain injury with potential long term effects on physical, cognitive and emotional functioning.”
Mr Conradie also said that many head injuries are often not diagnosed. The majority of head injuries are minor head injuries (often occurring in sports like football and rugby) and limited expert services are available within the NHS nationally. Concussion (a form of brain injury) can leave the athletes with various difficulties including dizziness, headaches and poor concentration. If the athlete is not supported by expert professionals, problems and difficulties can be complicated which can affect the individual’s social functioning and ability to work in the way that they used to.
Professionals, families, coaches and athletes should be aware of the potential causes of head injuries and ensure early support to allow for optimal recovery.