Head Injuries

If sparring is part of boxing training, head injuries may and do happen sometimes. "I'm fine, I'm fine", I insisted to the coach as I lay on my back on the canvas looking up at the ceiling one evening in the gym. "Just stay there," the coach ordered.

I had been sparring with another woman, and my hands came down at the wrong time. She came in with a right hook that caught me on the left side of my face. I backed away, thinking that I would shake it off and continue. My legs had other plans, as they buckled under me.

The next day, I was still feeling the effects of the night before. After a brief meeting about tasks coming up that week, I told my boss that I needed to get some aspirin out of the first aid kit located in his office. "Oh, I got knocked out last night," I casually answered when he asked what was wrong. I had a headache that wouldn't go away. "If you don't feel better in awhile, you need to go to the doctor," he told me.

It didn't get better, but I ignored the boss' advice. I stayed at work until the end of the day, then went up to the drug store to buy some aspirin for home. When I got home, I went to sleep, which was not a good idea. Luckily, when I woke up later, I felt much better.

The moral of the story: don't play around with head injuries!

Concussions are a result of head injuries. They can be mild to severe. In boxing training, the usual cause of concussions are punches to the head. Amateur boxers wear headgear, but headgear will not prevent anyone from being knocked out.

Basically, an injury to the head bounces the brain around. Not a pretty picture, eh? A person may or may not lose conciousness. I wasn't totally knocked out when I got hit that time. But it took me awhile to sit up. It took another while for me to stand up. I was slowed down. Then I had that headache that lasted for hours.

Other symptoms could include fuzzy or blurred vision, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to light and noise, balance problems, and having little to no energy. Having a hard time focusing and thinking could be present as well.

Head injuries in boxing training should be taken seriously. Anyone who's been knocked down and/or knocked out due to a punch during sparring should go to the doctor. Most people are okay in a few days or weeks behind a concussion. But don't do like I did and skip the doctor's visit. Get it checked out.

Also, do yourself a favor and don't get back into the ring too fast. Everything may seem fine after a few days, but don't spar for awhile. The USA Boxing handbook recommends that a boxer should not fight for 30 days following a head injury -- and that's involving an injury that took place during an actual bout. The same rule should be followed if the injury took place during a sparring session.

Wearing headgear can avoid some head injuries.

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