Sport concussion has been thrust into the national spotlight with growing concern over both the acute and chronic risk for injury. While much has been learned and applied to medical practice in the previous decade, how the injury may affect individuals years later remains largely unknown. The opaqueness of the unknown has led some to ask if certain sports should be banned. Without immediate answers, what is currently known must be extrapolated and the risks and benefits of sport participation must be balanced.
Steven P. Broglio
Jason P. Shurley and Janice S. Todd
In recent years there has been a significant increase in the scrutiny of head trauma in football. This attention is due largely to a host of studies that have been highly publicized and linked the repetitive head trauma in football to late-life neurological impairment. Scientists and physicians familiar with boxing have been aware of such impairment, resulting from repeated head impacts, for more than 80 years. Few, however, made the connection between the similarity of head impacts in boxing and football until recent decades. This article examines the medical and scientific literature related to head trauma in both boxing and football, paying particular attention to the different emphases of that research. Further, the literature is used to trace the understanding of sport-related chronic head trauma as well as how that understanding has prompted reform efforts in each sport. Finally, in light of the current understanding of the long-term sequelae of repetitive head trauma, some consideration is given to what football administrators can learn from the reform efforts in boxing.