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Paediatr Child Health. Jan 2012; 17(1): 39.
PMCID: PMC3276529
Boxing participation by children and adolescents
A joint statement with the American Academy of Pediatrics
Laura K Purcell, Claire MA LeBlanc, and Canadian Paediatric Society, Healthy Active Living and Sports Medicine Committee, and American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness
Correspondence: Canadian Paediatric Society, 2305 St Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa, Ontario K1G 4J8. E-mail info/at/cps.ca
Thousands of boys and girls younger than 19 years of age participate in boxing in North America. Although boxing provides benefits for participants, including exercise, self-discipline and self-confidence, the sport of boxing encourages and rewards deliberate blows to the head and face. Participants in boxing are at risk of head, face and neck injuries, including chronic and even fatal neurological injuries. Concussions are one of the most common injuries occurring in boxing. Because of the risk of head and facial injuries, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics vigorously oppose boxing as a sport for children and adolescents. These organizations recommend that physicians oppose boxing in youth and encourage patients to participate in alternative sports in which intentional head blows are not central to the sport.
Keywords: Adolescents, Boxing, Children, Chronic traumatic brain injury, Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Concussion, Head injuries, Youth
The Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that paediatricians:
  • Vigorously oppose boxing as a sport for any child or adolescent;
  • Educate patients who may be engaged in or considering engaging in boxing, as well as their parents/caregivers/teachers/coaches, about the medical risks of boxing;
  • Encourage young athletes to participate in alternative sports in which intentional blows to the head are not central to the sport, such as swimming, tennis, basketball and volleyball; and
  • Advocate that boxing organizations ensure that appropriate medical care is provided for children and adolescents who choose to participate in boxing, ideally including medical coverage at events, preparticipation medical examinations, and regular neurocognitive testing and ophthalmological examinations.
Acknowledgments
This position statement has been reviewed by the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Adolescent Health, Community Paediatrics, and Injury Prevention Committees, as well as by the Paediatric Emergency Medicine Section of the Canadian Paediatric Society.
Footnotes
CANADIAN PAEDIATRIC SOCIETY, ACTIVE HEALTHY LIVING AND SPORTS MEDICINE COMMITTEE
Members: Tracy Bridger MD; Kristin Houghton MD; Claire MA LeBlanc MD (Chair); Stan Lipnowski MD; Peter Nieman MD; John F Philpott MD; Christina G Templeton MD (Board Representative); Tom Warshawski MD
Liaison: Laura K Purcell MD; Canadian Paediatric Society, Paediatric Sport and Exercise Medicine Section
Consultant: Carolyn Emery MD
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS, COUNCIL ON SPORTS MEDICINE AND FITNESS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, 2008–2009
Members: Drs Teri M McCambridge (Chairperson); Holly J Benjamin; Joel S Brenner; Charles T Cappetta MD; Rebecca A Demorest; Andrew JM Gregory; Mark E Halstead; Chris G Koutures; Cynthia R LaBella; Stephanie S Martin; Stephen G Rice; Amanda Weiss-Kelly
Liaisons: Dr Claire MA LeBlanc (Canadian Paediatric Society, Healthy Active Living and Sports Medicine Committee); Ms Lisa Klutchurosky (National Athletic Trainers Association); Mr James Raynor (National Athletic Trainers Association); Dr Kevin Walter (National Federation of State High School Associations)
Consultants: Drs Michael F Bergeron; Laura K Purcell
Staff: Ms Anjie Emanuel
Principal authors: Dr Laura K Purcell, Hamilton, Ontario; Claire MA LeBlanc, Montreal, Quebec
The recommendations in this statement do not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or procedure to be followed. Variations, taking into account individual circumstances, may be appropriate. All Canadian Paediatric Society position statements and practice points are reviewed on a regular basis. Please consult the Position Statements section of the CPS website (www.cps.ca) for the full-text, current version.
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