Recent Topics      (Updated 10-26-05)
AAPRP 2005 Medical Convention Recap

AAPRP Presents Medical Recommendations For Boxing Safety




       The American Association of Professional Ringside Physician’s (AAPRP) Medical Conference was held September 22-25, 2005 at the Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Over 150 doctors, commissioners, members and guests attended this year’s conference on boxing safety.  This year’s program took on a greater meaning with the news of the Leavander Johnson tragedy and the urgency to develop protocols with the goal of preventing further boxing deaths.  A moment of silence was observed during the program in honor of Mr. Johnson and his dedication to the sport. 

The program began with Bruce Spizler, Esq. (ABC Legal Counsel) updating the AAPRP on Federal Legislation and how the proposed federal bills might affect the medical aspects of the sport.  Dr. Paul Wallace presented a ‘behind the scenes ‘ look into the medical examinations on the NBC Production of “The Contender” and Dr. Michael Schwartz discussed the pre-participation physical examination and what to look for in order to prevent injuries in the ring.  Other lectures included Dr. John Stiller’s ongoing medical study on chronic brain injuries and Dr. Raymond Monsell’s discussion of neuropsychological testing and its use in the early detection of brain injuries. New Jersey’s Chief Ringside Physician, Dr. Domenic Coletta presented, (to a panel of ringside physician experts), various examples of medical abnormalities and whether they would allow the participant’s to compete in a segment entitled “The Show Must Go On.”  The day concluded with an elaborate cocktail reception attended by female fighters Ms. Jacqui Frazier-Lyde and Ms. Jaime Clampitt.

The second day began with the Dr. Ronald Kamm discussing how to evaluate the psychological “make-up” of the professional fighter.  The future of ringside medicine was examined as company representatives presented and discussed “Rapid HIV Testing in Boxing” and “Rapid Urine Drug Screening of the Boxer” as part of the pre-fight screening process.  Both technologies offer potential benefits to commissions, boxers and promoters including reduced costs and expedited results in order to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases in the ring.  The day continued as a panel comprised of female fighter’s and boxing experts discussed the “Medical Aspects of Female Boxing.”  The panel included Mr. Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, Ms. Jaime Clampitt, Ms. Ann Marie Saccurato and Ms. Diane Fischer.  The panel provided invaluable insight into the sport and discussed many misconceptions concerning injuries, female boxing equipment and the benefits of the two–minute round.  The panel was in disagreement on whether a female should fight a male (the proposed Ann Wolfe v. Bo Skipper contest.)  Ms. Saccurato believed it would benefit the sport and be an interesting contest where as Ms. Clampitt and Ms. Frazier-Lyde felt that no woman should ever get into the ring with a man since it would increase the risks of injuries and would portray the sport in a circus atmosphere.  The AAPRP members were in agreement that such a contest could increase the likelihood of a ringside catastrophe.  Dr.’s Blair Bergen and Dr. Patty Yoffe presented a fabulous presentation on the medical differences between male and female fighting and the need for additional research and studies in female boxing. 

Dr. Margaret Goodman gave an excellent review on the dangers of steroids and performance enhancing drugs and Dr. Robert Cantu gave his insight into intracranial bleeds and how the Joe Mesi injury differs from other brain injuries.  The AAPRP members voiced their concerns and the potential consequences should Mr. Mesi return to boxing, although most agreed that further studies are needed to investigate the causes and risks of sub-dural brain bleeding.  The lectures concluded with a heart-wrenching look into the tsunami disaster and Dr. Wallace’s heroic efforts in assisting in the identification of the deceased.  Dr. Wallace aided in the identification of over 80% of the victims thereby enabling families’ a sense of closure.  Dr. Wallace received a standing ovation for his efforts and compassion.

 This year’s awards banquet began as Mr. Gerry Cooney presented the vital work of The Fighters’ Initiative for Support and Training (F.I.S.T.) and how the AAPRP can assist his organization in improving the future for boxers.  Mr. Teddy Atlas described the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation and the wonderful work done by the group to improve the lives of those less fortunate.  He applauded the AAPRP and its goal of promoting safety in boxing. Other guest speakers included referee Mr. Steve Smoger and ‘Contender’ star Mr. Tommy Gallagher.  The keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Lou Duva who described the crucial role of the trainers and managers in protecting their fighter’s and the need for doctors to be more involved in the sport. 

 This year’s award recipients included Mr. George Horowitz (CEO – Everlast) receiving the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his work and dedication in developing safety equipment to protect the boxer.  In addition, Dr. Joseph Estwanik received the “Educator of the Year” award and NBC’s “The Contender” received the “Outstanding Contribution to Boxing” award.  Mr. Larry Hazzard, Sr. received the “Administrator of the Year” award and was overwhelmed and teary eyed when several young fighter’s from the ‘Community Organization Making Boxing Alternatives Today for Tomorrow’ (COMBATT) dedicated their amateur championship belts to Mr. Hazzard in appreciation for all his support in improving the lives of these youngsters.  Dr. Michael Schwartz received this year’s “Ringside Physician of the Year” award for his work as Chief Ringside Physician for the Mohegan Tribal Nation, Foxwoods Resorts Casino and the State of Connecticut. Dr. Allan Fields (who presented the award) read congratulatory messages from Senator Joseph Lieberman, Congressman Christopher Shays, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell and Stamford Mayor Daniel Malloy.  The night concluded with a raffle which included boxing memorabilia, tickets to local entertainment and tickets to the Championship Boxing Match held at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday evening.

 The Saturday session was the most interesting of the program with Dr. Rodolfo Eichberg teaching a “crash course” on ‘Spanish for the ringside physician.’  His pocket booklet will become a permanent tool of every ringside physician and can be utilized at the pre-fight and post-fight physical examinations.  The boxer’s panel on boxing safety included Mr. Monte Barrett, Mr. Calvin Brock, Mr. Brian Adams and Mr. Paul Malignaggi.  Each fighter gave passionate insight on the relationship between boxers and doctors and the need for better communication and understanding between the groups.  Mr. Barrett commented on the use of larger gloves while sparring and his anecdotal experience of decreased injuries; including concussions.  The AAPRP is proposing a study and recommendation that boxers consider utilizing a larger glove size while sparring hopefully decreasing the cumulative force of head blows.  This theory postulates that repetitive head blows in training may possible potentiate acute and chronic brain damage. 

 Following the boxer’s panel was the media panel, which included the “Heavyweights” in boxing journalism.  The group included Mr. Tim Smith, Mr. Ron Borgess, Mr. Bernard Fernandez and Mr. Jack Obermayer.  Each writer discussed the recent injuries in the sport and the need for more information from the doctors.  In response, the doctors asked for more consideration from the media in understanding and respecting the complexity of ringside medicine.  Both groups agreed to improve communication through dialogue with the hope of improving the public’s perception of boxing safety and the role of the ringside physician.  The media group applauded the doctors for their dedication to improve the sport. 

Also discussed was the AAPRP proposed medical data bank.  The data bank will record medical information and can be utilized to monitor and improve the medical care needed for the boxer’s safety.  Mr. Michael Mazzulli (Director of Boxing - Mohegan Sun Casino) discussed the role of the commissioner in preventing mismatches and Dr. George Palmer discussed lacerations and the various legal (and illegal) preparations utilized by cutmen around the world.  The room fell silent as Mr. Ron Ross and Mr. Emile Griffith discussed the documentary “Ring of Fire” in which Benny “kid” Paret died as a result of his injuries in the fight.  An emotional ending to a conference in which the death of Leavnader Johnson was embedded into everyone’s mind.

Many attendees spent Saturday evening at Boardwalk Hall witnessing the boxing match between Vladamir Klitschko v. Samuel Peter.  Mr. Michael Buffer welcomed the members of the American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians to the boxing match. 

Everyone who attended agreed that the education gained would help them become better trained in ringside medicine and will ultimately improve safety in boxing.  Commissioner Larry Hazzard, Sr. stated, “I went back to school for three days and can’t believe what I learned about boxing!”

Possible venues for next year’s convention include Mohegan Sun, Las Vegas, San Diego and San Francisco.

AAPRP Presents Medical Recommendations to Improve Boxing Safety

       At the request of boxing commissions and in response to the recent ringside tragedies, The American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP) announced today recommendations to improve safety in professional boxing. At the recent AAPRP Medical Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the AAPRP Board Members in cooperation with the AAPRP membership discussed immediate changes in boxing to decrease the likelihood of additional injuries or catastrophes in boxing. Dr. Michael Schwartz, AAPRP Chairman stated, “It is time that we urge all commissions across the world to develop uniformed standards to protect these athletes. In an inherently dangerous sport, it is imperative that these recommendations be adopted immediately in the hope of saving a life. Obviously, additional research is needed and we ask all of our ringside physician experts to continue to investigate and develop ringside protocols to improve the sport.”

Below are the AAPRP Recommendations:

1) All sparring should take place with oversized gloves to minimize the cumulative forces of the punches during training. (i.e. Heavyweights 20-22 oz gloves...Middleweights 16 oz gloves and lightweights 12 oz gloves, etc.)

2)Minimize head shots during training to decrease the likelihood of pre-existing damage prior to entering the ring for the competition.

3)All states immediately adopt the minimum medical requirements of the ABC and AAPRP. If these requirements are not adopted, the AAPRP asks promoters and sanctioning bodies to consider not holding boxing matches in these venues until they comply with these recommendations.

4)Boxers who have not fought for over 12 months should not fight more than 10 rounds. The question of inactivity raises concerns about the likelihood of increased risks of injuries based on inactivity and conditioning.

5)Fighter's not be permitted to lose more than 3% body weight at the weigh-in before a fight. Additionally, no fighter gaining more than 5% body weight should be permitted to compete after the weigh-in.

6)Medial data bank is implemented immediately to follow the medical history during a boxer's career.

7)Promoters, managers, cornermen, commissioners are encouraged to anonymously report boxer's whom they believe are showing early changes consistent with brain damage. This information will then be investigated and (if necessary) be utilized to require more tests or to terminate a boxer's career.

8)The ringside physician should remain at the venue until all the competitors have left the

9)The ringside physician should notify the local hospital and on-call neurosurgeon that a
boxing match will be taking place.

10) No fighter who is Hepatitis C or HIV antibody positive should be permitted to fight even
if the virus is undetectable in their blood.

11) Further research (i.e. the medical severity index, the Impact concussion study, rapid
HIV/infectious disease testing, etc.) is encouraged and should be utilized to determine
those at greater risk for injury.

12) A minimum of two ringside physicians should attend every boxing match.