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Much of the debate over the American Medical Association's call for a ban on boxing swirls around the professional fighter and his risk of injury or even death, especially from repeated head trauma.
But are the thousands of amateur boxers at any less potential risk of central nervous system damage simply because, at least when fighting in the United States, they wear protective headgear in the ring? A just-announced epidemiologic study in seeking the answer.
The study is scheduled to last four years. However, depending on the results four years from now, the investigators—most of whom are at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore—might seek additional funding. (There have been suggestions in the past that central nervous system changes may not become all that apparent in just four years' time.)
In announcing the study, the United States of America Amateur Boxing Federation, Inc, characterized it as "an unprecedented move." The federation
Gunby P. Epidemiologic study to examine amateur boxers' potential risks. JAMA. 1986;255(18):2397–2399. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370180015002