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Old 11-23-2013, 03:10 PM   #1
ReadWrite

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Icon1 Professional Fighter Brain Health Study (240 MMA Fighters)

http://mmajunkie.com/2013/11/22/what...s-for-answers/

Long read, but v. important, so worth it.

"Bernick’s study – officially dubbed the Professional Fighter Brain Health Study – is still in the early stages. Since 2011 he’s examined nearly 400 pro fighters – about 60 percent MMA fighters, 40 percent boxers, according to his estimates – using advanced MRI scans, neurological exams, tests to track changes in speech, balance, mood, reaction time, cognitive abilities and more.

While it may be years before he has anything definitive to report, the study has already broken new ground in at least one area..."

...

What Bernick is seeing in the preliminary findings across both boxing and MMA, he said, “suggests that repetitive head trauma does cause degeneration of cells, and the areas shrink.”

-

* Has an interview with Aaron Riley.

* UFC fighters get free MRI (worth $2,000) if they participate in the study

* Interesting comment re. training at Miletich's gym:

"It’s something Riley thinks about, especially after beginning his career training at Pat Miletich’s gym in Iowa, where training sessions were notoriously brutal in the early days of the sport. Riley said he regularly saw fighters knocked unconscious in training. Even then he knew that had to be bad for your brain."

---

So, practice now is safer, right?

Yes, but.. according to research by Nick Denis:

"What surprised him was that, according to the research, it wasn’t just the big, lights-out concussions that put you at risk for serious and irreversible brain damage. It was the little hits too, the “sub-concussive” blows that a pro fighter might not even notice anymore. Those were the kind of hits he sustained not only in fights, which usually only lasted a round or two and no more than three or four times a year, but also in practice."

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Old 11-23-2013, 03:11 PM   #2
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"Riley said he regularly saw fighters knocked unconscious in training. Even then he knew that had to be bad for your brain."

what a genius

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Old 11-23-2013, 03:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
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"Riley said he regularly saw fighters knocked unconscious in training. Even then he knew that had to be bad for your brain."

what a genius
My 4 yr old could have came up with that conclusion.

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Old 11-23-2013, 03:41 PM   #4
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I think this is even more obvious than the NFL with this sport. If you enter it, you likely will get brain damage unless you are a top level guy or don't stay around too long. It's just common sense.

I agree with the light blows research too. I played rugby and often would bump heads with other players often in practice and games. I never suffered from a full concussion the time I played until my last spring season. It wasn't a specific instance I could turn to but I just couldnt concentrate anymore for a really long time. I still think I am recovering from it since it's been less than a year.

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Old 11-23-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
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They've said that for years about the light blows. That's why there's been a recent debate about whether amateur boxers should wear head gear. The head gear allows them to take many more blows which causes more damage long term then what would happen minus the head gear.

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Old 11-23-2013, 04:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
“suggests that repetitive head trauma does cause degeneration of cells, and the areas shrink.”
Quote:
Riley said he regularly saw fighters knocked unconscious in training. Even then he knew that had to be bad for your brain.
Who knew.

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Old 11-23-2013, 04:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsh209 View Post
"Riley said he regularly saw fighters knocked unconscious in training. Even then he knew that had to be bad for your brain."

what a genius
Reminds me of the stories about people not wanting to spar Lawler or McFedries. I could see those two having the most KOs at that gym.

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Old 11-23-2013, 04:43 PM   #8
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As somewhat of a boxing historian, as good as these studies are going to be to bring about awareness, they still don't tell the whole story. Google Vitali Klitschko and Parkinsons. A german doctor indicated over a year ago that Vitali displayed the classic symptoms of early onset Parkinsons. Point being, some of the damage is not going to show up right now. Then when an ex-fighter turns 60 or so, blows taken 25-30 years earlier will finally rear it's ugly head and lead to rapid dimentia, Alzheimers, etc. These fighters know the risks. As much as we enjoy pugilistic sports, you can't really make them safer. If you do, you take away what makes the sport great and exciting. It's sad, but as this article said, and it's spot on, the little shots that you don't notice will be the undoing of one's health.

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Old 11-23-2013, 04:47 PM   #9
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Reminds me of the stories about people not wanting to spar Lawler or McFedries. I could see those two having the most KOs at that gym.
I've always figured it's why most power-shot fighters aren't as refined. You can't safely spar how you'll fight. If you do, you either have sparring partners who come in accepting the risks or you're being a dick and giving some poor saps brain damage.

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Old 11-23-2013, 06:29 PM   #10
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Reading that made me sad. I'm a young guy, and I never really thought about brain damage in MMA or other combat sports for that matter. It was just fighting to me. But now, I think of all the guys who fight twice a week on the regional scene for like $100... it's just depressing.

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