Sep 17, 2017
Expert Voices

The athlete is responsible

From our Expert Voices conversation on pro football.

A lot of people make a lot of money and countless others are entertained because boxers willingly endure brain damage every time they go to work. The least the fighters deserve is a system that protects them to the greatest degree possible given the nature of the sport. And, for the main part, boxing regulators — primarily state commissions — have safeguards to minimize catastrophic injuries and prevent death.

Here's the reality, though: There is only so much one can do. The object of boxing is to land punches flush to the opponent's head, which jostles and very likely damages the brain every time glove meets target. No precaution will change that. And all boxers know it. They made the decision for whatever reason – money, fame, love of the sport – to tempt fate by exchanging whirling blows with men and women determined to hurt them. They can't declare at some point later, "I didn't know boxing was dangerous." Football players must have the same self awareness.

Bottom line: Boxers willingly — often happily – step directly into harm's way each time they lace up their gloves. They, and athletes in other dangerous sports, must take full responsibility for their fate.

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