One of the biggest misconceptions about headgears is that people think that after wearing the headgear, their whole face gets protected from all kinds of injuries. But does boxing headgear prevent brain damage too?
There is no second thought that headgears are a valuable asset to wear during sparring and boxing. But do they offer the same level of protection as you think?
So, stick around till the end to become blow by blow aware if headgear is good for boxing or not!
What does a Boxing Headgear Offer?
Before getting into details of whether boxing headgear prevents brain damage, let’s have a quick view of what it provides you with. So, a few reasons behind considering boxing headgear an essential element for sparring and boxing are:
- Protects from Surface Trauma and Bruises
One of the best benefits that boxing headgear offers is the protection from cuts and bruises on the sensitive tissues, nose, and cheeks. It covers your head and whole face, so it prevents the face from getting injured. Else there are high chances of your nose bridge or eyebrow ridge getting damaged.
- Head Butts
Another thing is that it offers a reasonable amount of protection against strong kicks on the face and head butts.
- Physiological Effect
It offers a physiological effect on the human mind too. The boxer or the fighter starts to feel safer. As a result, he starts off giving stronger punches to the opponent.
- Protection in case of being Knockout
The last thing a boxing headgear offers is protection from getting severely injured when you are being knocked out. The excess layer of padding offers you a high degree of protection.
Although these are also some reasons why you prevent severe injuries from headgear, the question is, “Does boxing headgear prevent brain damage or not?”. So, let’s get into details of boxing headgear injuries and the protection it offers.
Does Boxing Headgear Prevent Brain Damage?
Unfortunately, where a headgear protects from several damages, my wearing boxing headgear boxing brain damage or concussion chances increase by multiple folds.
Concussion or brain damage occurs when your head moves back and with an accelerated speed and a violent force. As a result, there results in a significant jolt to the brain and the cranial cavity.
Although a headgear is a padded surface that covers the face and prevents damage to cheeks, chin, jaws, ears, and particularly your braces and teeth, these boxing headgears cannot protect from brain damage and brain injury.
How does Brain Damage occur?
When your opponent attacks with a significant amount of energy, a sudden jolt occur in your head. These strikes and repeated punches result in a concussion. A concussion can last from a few days to several months, depending on the severity. A few frequent symptoms of brain damage from boxing are:
- Dazed look
- Loss of consciousness
- Delayed responses
- Double vision
- Ringing and voices in ear
- Vomiting and headache
Does wearing Boxing Headgear increase Brain Injury Chances?
There isn’t much evidence to support that wearing a head guard offers brain damage protection and head guard injury prevention. Various studies and controlled research have shown that wearing headgears, in turn, increases the chance of Brain damage.
YOU MUST BE THINKING WHAT? How is that even possible? But yes! That is where facts and statistics play their role.
A Study by International Boxing Association AIBA
A study by International Boxing Association AIBA is a great addition to this case. they examined 28,802 boxing rounds to find whether wearing headgear prevents brain damage or not. And surprisingly, where everyone was thinking it was in favor of protection, the results concluded in the opposite way.
The results showed that the chances of brain damage or concussion reduced to 43% by not wearing headgears. Isn’t it simply amazing?
Yes! That is why great boxers like Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, who wore headgears in the London Olympics in 2012, didn’t wear them in 2016.
So, the statistics answer the question,” Does Boxing headgear prevent brain damage” as a BIG NO.
A Study by David et al 2017
Similarly, David et al. did another research in 2017 regarding the effects of not wearing headgears. And the results showed that the boxers who don’t wear headgears are more attentive and alert to their opponent’s moves and how to counteract them compared to those who were wearing headgears.
The boxers who were not wearing headgears made more defensive moves and throws and hence fought in a competitive way, resulting in more knockouts.
In contrast to that, the boxers who wear headgears only focus on their punches, kicks, and throws. They were least up with the defensive techniques, and that is where they all lacked.
They start to feel themselves completely protected by wearing headgears and hence don’t try to guess their opponent’s moves. As a result, getting brain damage and severe injury increases significantly.
Slowed Rate of Attack and Response
Another interesting theory that has come up is that wearing headgear reduced the speed of attack by the boxers. Studies have compared the results and have shown that due to visual hindrance and interference, the boxers who wear headgears respond to blow up nearly five times or 5% as slower than those who are not wearing headgears.
Centre of Attack
Another problem with wearing headgears is that it actually becomes the central point or the focal point to hit at. The opponent actually starts to aim at the head more.
And these are not just facts as, again, a controlled study supports that the opponents aim the face and head area of boxers who were wearing headgear more than those who aren’t wearing headgears.
So, till now, the question of whether boxing headgear prevents brain damage no longer remains!
Chances of brain damage or boxing headgear injuries
According to research done in 2013, nearly 90 percent of boxers get brain damage or encounter concussion at least one time in their life, and about 70 percent of them wear headgears.
And a terrifying fact is that in 40 percent of the boxers, the symptoms of brain damage and brain injury never go away.
Headgear Injury Prevention Tips
Now that we know the answer to, “Does boxing headgear prevent brain damage”, let’s find out the ways and tips to prevent headgear injury. So, here are a few tips and tricks to consider before entering a ring and practicing boxing both with and without headgear.
- Develop good muscle strength in your neck and shoulders so that your head doesn’t move back and forth rapidly after getting hit
- Understand the importance of blocking and punches
- Try to become well aware of your opponent’s next move beforehand so that you can develop strategies to counteract them.
- Never enter a fight until you are fully covered and mentally prepared.
- Always read the rules of the fight beforehand
- Practice the head safety precautions during sparring and boxing practice too.
Should You Go Away With Headgear?
Whether to go away with headgear completely or not depends on your boxing level.
- If you are an expert, you probably don’t need to spare much and hence don’t need to put on headgear for headgear boxing brain damage protection.
- If you are a beginner, you can initially do sparring and boxing practicing by wearing the headgear as it induces confidence in you for the initial fight. Moreover, it reduces head collisions and chances of various superficial injuries too.
So, it totally depends on you and your boxing style whether you want to wear headgear or not. But as far as the thought to prevent injuries from head guards remains, it doesn’t offer much to it.
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Conclusion- A Final Thought
Till now, we have completed our job of making you up with does boxing headgear prevents brain damage. Although headgear offers various advantages, it doesn’t prevent brain damage or brain injury. In fact, there is no equipment made till now that can fully prevent brain injury.
However, if you take proper precautions, you can stop it from happening.
Wearing headgear is totally your choice. However, wearing it to prevent head injury doesn’t sound good or effective.
Chris Bent is a professional MMA Trainer who has expertise in both Martial Arts and Karate and he loves to teach Men, Women and Kids.