We have posted several pieces about the dangers of Traumatic Brain Injury, and the fact that participation in a fighting art or sport inherently carries an increased risk of sustaining brain injuries. As MMA events continue to grow in popularity, the fact that repeated blows to the head are almost guaranteed seems to be an afterthought to many. Pro-level MMA competition is not a good model for amateur training. As I pointed out in a post on TBI:
…for a pro competitor in the ring, brain injury is a risk that he or she is taking in exchange for payment; but this is not the same thing as an amateur student or weekend warrior who trains without monetary compensation or medical care…. a very large grey area has emerged when it comes to the long-term effects of repeatedly being elbowed, kneed and kicked in the head in a UFC style match. And when one considers that droves of people are attracted to amateur practice of MMA because it is touted as being “superior” to all other martial arts, one must also wonder how much of the accepting attitude of professionals towards the contact that causes brain injury goes along with it.
If you are interested in competing in full-contact events, do not ignore the realities of being repeatedly hit and kicked in the head- there will be consequences. These might be relatively minor, or they might take some time to show up- but they can also drastically alter your quality of life or end it in seconds.
I know I sound like a broken record on this topic, but it’s worth repeating:
Do not confuse the abuse that pro competitors elect to take with something you should accept in your training, or as being “just part of the game.” The complexity of the brain is directly proportional to it’s fragility.