News Release

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Contact: Greg Raver-Lampman, (757) 668-7554 Greg.Raver-Lampman@chkd.org

Children should not box, pediatricians warn

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— Boxing is not an appropriate sport for children and teens, pediatricians in the U.S. and Canada have declared in a statement published in the September 2011 issue of Pediatrics.

“We believe the risks for concussions and other injuries far outweigh any potential benefits young athletes derive from boxing,” said co-author Dr. Joel Brenner, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine.

While boxing programs require the use of headgear, there is no evidence that it can reduce the number of concussions, said Dr. Brenner, who also serves as medical director of the sports medicine program at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database shows that U.S. emergency rooms averaged 8,716 boxing injuries per year in patients ranging from 12 to 34 years old, according to the report. Concussions represented 8.1 percent of these injuries.  That’s worrisome because the brains of young people take longer to recover than the brains of adults. In some cases, second concussions can result in catastrophic brain damage or death. Repetitive blows to the head over time may also be a risk factor for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, said the authors.

The recommendations urge pediatricians and health professionals to discourage boxing among patients and guide them toward alternative sports such as swimming, tennis, basketball and volleyball.

Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.