BSA pulls no punches over brain scans

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Boxing South Africa (BSA) has vowed not to have its process of updating boxers’ medical records – particularly of those who are older than 35 – derailed.

This comes in the wake of the national governing body ordering 80 licensed professional boxers to submit their brain scans as required before their fights.

BSA has made it clear that no boxer in this category will be allowed into the ring unless they have met this requirement.

Medical records

BSA chief executive officer Tsholofelo Lejaka said regulations stipulated that, when a boxer reaches the age of 35, the regulatory body must take precautions and limit the risk of brain injuries.

“The BSA board has, in principle, approved the renewal of the licences of all eligible boxers who are over the age of 35,” said Lejaka.

“However, the board attached the condition that the medical records of these boxers must be updated and this must include a recent brain scan”.

Lejaka said the regulatory body would not allow anyone to stop it from implementing this process as that “determines individuals’ mental and physical state to continue boxing”.

According to Lejaka, some managers and trainers had complained about fighters being required to undergo brain scans. He did not mention names, however.

“I mean, this is done to safeguard the boxers and is in compliance with section 3, subsection 4 of boxing regulations”.

Helpful to fighters

African Ring promoter Jeff Ellis said the scans were done in accordance with measures put in place for the safety of the fighters.

“This is about the life of a boxer,” said Ellis.

“When he reaches 35, his body slows down and the brain scans become important”.

Ellis said Golden Gloves boxer DeeJay Kriel (22) would undergo a brain scan ahead of his World Boxing Council (WBC) international minimum weight title contest against Filipino Dexter Alimento at Emperors Palace on July 23.

“The WBC orders all boxers contesting its titles, irrespective of their age, to undergo brain scans. This is helpful to the fighters themselves,” Ellis said.

A look at the records shows that boxers continue their careers well over the age of 35 and are generally forced by serious injuries to quit the sport.

Mzonke Fana, who is 43, is the country’s oldest active boxer.

Records also show that many boxers put off undergoing brain scans and expose themselves to serious head injuries by continuing to fight despite being well over age.

According to medical experts, most fighters sustain brain injuries as a result of blows to the head while in the ring.

It is hoped that undergoing brain scans will minimize the extent of head injuries.

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