Cleveland -- The use of padded headgear and gloves reduces the impact that fighters absorb from hits to the head, according to newly published research from Cleveland Clinic.
In their biomechanics lab at Cleveland Clinic's Lutheran Hospital, the researchers replicated hook punches to the head using a crash test dummy and a pendulum. The impacts were measured under five padding configurations: without headgear or boxing gloves; with headgear and boxing gloves; with headgear but without boxing gloves; with boxing gloves but without headgear; and with mixed martial arts-style gloves without headgear.
The research published online today by the Journal of Neurosurgery measured both linear impacts and rotational impacts. (Linear impacts involve a straight-line collision of two objects, like a car driving straight into a wall in crash tests. Rotational impacts cause an object to rotate on its axis, such as the head rotating on the neck.)
The boxing-gloves-and-headgear combination proved the most effective in reducing impact forces. Though all of the padding combinations offered some reduction in linear impact forces, they did not lessen rotational impact forces.
"There is ample medical literature that points to rotational impacts as being key contributors to head and neck injuries," said lead researcher Adam Bartsch, Ph.D., Director of the Spine Research Lab in Cleveland Clinic's Center for Spine Health. "However, padding used for boxing and mixed martial arts are still designed to primarily reduce linear not rotational acceleration. More work is needed to develop better protective padding to minimize both linear and rotational forces."
The study supports the theory that head and neck impacts accumulate fastest in fighters who don't use protective headgear.
"These results show that gloves and headgear can offer some meaningful protection, proving that fighters especially young fighters should wear
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