Seoul’s AIBA Boxing President Ching-Kuo Wu has made the decision to remove headgear due to recent statistics that prove that the number of concussions are lower when fighters fight without the headgear. These numbers came from extensive research by the association’s own medical commission as well as six other independent organizations that included data compiled from more than 30,000 bouts. However, Wu’s decision is a little misleading and leads one to believe that the headgear is causing some kind of damage to the fighters. Instead, it is the fighters themselves who are responsible for these concussion numbers due to the mental approach they’re taking into their fights.
“The problem was that it led to boxers not thinking to protect their heads, so when they were defending they didn’t care so much about getting hit in the head…by removing headgear, it has changed the way boxers and coaches prepare, it has changed tactics. Now you have to defend better, use good techniques to protect your head,” Wu told the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) Congress.
So it’s not as though the protective gear doesn’t work. If the fighters could figure out how to protect their heads with the gear on as if it were off, that would be the safest way to go about the situation. The fighters’ false sense of security is similar to what happens in NASCAR or other extreme sports. Drivers in NASCAR often drive recklessly because they have extra seat belts and a protective helmet. If they were driving at normal 0-100 mph speeds, then that extra protection would surely help. But when you’re traveling at more that 200 mph, they may need a little more. Skateboarders are occasionally guilty of this same problem simply because they are laced up with knees pads, elbow pads and a helmet.
All that said, it’s easy to get injured with or without protective gear. When using headgear, don’t overestimate how protected you are. In short, don’t let the ‘protective’ gear “go to your head.”