Boxing-related fatalities in Australia: a retrospective analysis of news media reports

Alexander J. Alevras*, Joel T. Fuller, Rebecca Mitchell, Reidar P. Lystad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To quantify and describe boxing-related deaths in Australia. Design: Retrospective analysis of news media reports of all boxing-related fatalities in Australia during 1832 to 2020. Methods: Australia and New Zealand Newsstream, Factiva, Informit, Google News, Fairfax Media Archive, and Trove were searched from inception to December 31, 2020. News media articles reporting all-cause boxing-related mortality were included for analysis. Results: There were 163 boxing-related fatalities in Australia during 1832 to 2020, including 122 (74.8%) professional and 40 (24.5%) amateur athletes. The most common causes of death were traumatic brain injury (n = 121; 74.2%) and cardiac arrest (n = 11; 6.7%). Boxing-related deaths occurred most frequently during the decades from 1910 to 1930. The fatality rate remained relatively steady from the 1870s through the 1930s, and then declined precipitously until the 1980s. Since legislation to regulate boxing started being introduced in the mid-1970s, there were a total of eleven deaths, of which all but one were caused by traumatic brain injury. Conclusions: Participation in boxing is associated with risk of death, in particular death caused by traumatic brain injury. The boxing-related fatality rate declined precipitously prior to government legislation to regulate boxing started being introduced, with no discernible further reduction in fatalities since. Given that a main purpose of government regulation of boxing is to protect the health and safety of athletes, the findings herein suggest that current regulations are either inadequate or not effectively implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Volume25
Issue number1
Early online date1 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Athletic injuries
  • Boxing
  • Death
  • Incidence
  • Sports medicine

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