Ban the Head Guard for Muay Thai in WA
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It's time we band together as an industry to ban the head guard for combat sports in Western Australia. Namely Muay Thai, Thai Boxing, Kickboxing and similar in the hope that regulating bodies, nationwide follow suit. This petition is to be heard as an industry and as a result make an movement movement toward changing the laws of Western Australia abolishing the need to wear head guard or head gear in competitive bouts. This will not happen without us speaking up and we ask that you help in signing this petition and use the hashtag #BanHeadGear in social media.
IT'S THE LAW
The head guard or head gear is a piece of equipment that must be worn by competitors from their competitive debut through to their sixth competitive bout, a law that has been enforced by the WA Combat Sports Commission since 1 March 2013.
DOES IT REALLY HELP?
Whilst the head guard may be seen as a protective device and worn for preventative measure, the head guard presents a number of risks to competitors including severe injury as a result of inhibiting vision, overheating, increasing the size of the target and as a result, increasing the likelihood of concussion to competitors, effectively causing a negative result based upon what it is in fact aimed at preventing.
IT INCREASES THE SIZE OF THE TARGET
It increases the size of the target in which it is worn (the head) increasing the likelihood of being struck and unable to evade the oncoming attack and as a result increasing the rate of concussion (see below for the statistics).
IT AFFECTS VISION
Over the years the head guard has been seen in competition to many interruptions of normal competitive bouts with the head guard prone to moving from the position that it is fixed, with it slipping, turning and coming loose in a competitive bout which leaves a wearer prone to being struck when the head guard inhibits the peripheral or direct vision of the wearer.
FROM A DOC'S POV
At a recent Muay Thai event hosted Sunday November 11, 2018 in Mirrabooka, Western Australia, official Ring Doctor Patrick Golden reported that there were an alarming: "28 stoppages due to headgear issues - not including fighters adjusting their own or between rounds".
Doctor Golden also added: "1. They do reduce cuts- which was their original purpose- they were never designed or intended to reduce brain injury. 2. Concussions increase as a result of headgear 3. I’d be more concerned about brain injury than facial cuts.
The answer is to get rid of head and chest guard and increase glove size, especially in juniors. This makes it harder to hit the target and decreases to force when connecting. Young brains are more susceptible to concussion and traumatic brain injury, so this is where they should be removed the most, not the least".
PAD THE WEAPON NOT THE TARGET
In an act to abolish the need to wear a head guard, it would make sense to have a trade off of increasing the padding of the weapon (the boxing gloves) whilst removing the padding of the target. Currently competitors wear 8oz, 10oz and 12oz gloves depending on weight category. Increasing the padding of the weapon in glove size, to make up for the thickness of padding in the head guard (sometimes up to 25mm) would make sense, therefore removing all likelihood of the dangers associated.
BOXING - A CHANGE AFTER THREE DECADES
At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, removal of the head gear happened for the first time in more than three decades, based on a counterintuitive and debatable premise — that the boxers would be safer without the extra protection.
The head guards were added at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 in reaction to especially brutal moments in the ring, all of them on the professional level and one of them leading to a death. Though clumsy-looking, the guards did prevent lacerations, particularly those around the scalp and forehead that resulted from head butts.
However, the International Boxing Association, known as A.I.B.A., decided in 2013 to eliminate the guards for amateur boxers in international tournaments because it had concluded that the guards were not having the desired effect when it came to preventing concussions and other brain injuries. In effect, the association concluded, there were two problems.
One was that the head guards created a bigger target for boxers, who in turn attempted more head blows. The other was that the gear was giving boxers a false sense of security.
Several studies, including one commissioned by the association, found that the number of acute brain injuries declined when head guards were not used. In the world championship tournaments overseen by the association from 2009 to 2013, the number of times a fight was stopped because of one boxer receiving repeated head blows fell 43 percent in bouts without head guards compared with fights with head guards.
IF WE WANT TO SEE AN EFFECTIVE CHANGE IN THE LAW IT'S UP TO US TO HAVE A VOICE AS ONE, AS AN INDUSTRY. SIGN THE PETITION AND SHARE PEOPLE, YOUR VOICE MATTERS...
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