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Boxing group bans headgear to reduce concussions

The International Boxing Association has announced that it is banning headgear in amateur boxing competitions in an effort to reduce concussions, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Beginning June 1, according to the paper, amateur, elite male boxers will no longer be allowed to wear headgear in competition, in rules released last week by the AIBA.

'If you can't recognize your grandchildren, it's a disaster.'

- Dr. Charles Butler

The idea behind the ban stems from the belief that athletes will not use their heads as weapons or hit as hard if they don’t feel as protected. In the case of boxing, headgear may also make it more difficult to see an opponent’s blows. Also, the headgear may make the head a bigger target.

"If you get a cut it will heal; if you break a bone it will heal," Dr. Charles Butler, a retired surgeon who led the study that served as basis for the headgear decision, told the Journal. "If you can't recognize your grandchildren, it's a disaster." He also said glove technology has evolved, helping to reduce the impact of punches.

"All available data indicated that the removal of headguard in Elite Men would result in a decreased number of concussions," the AIBA said in a statement.

Headgear was added to amateur boxing in response to health concerns in the 1980s.

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