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Hi guys,

 

I want to get some perspective - on average, how many team members get concussions in a year at your gym?

 

Last year, our gym had 5 concussions within the fight team from training (not sustained during a fight). Is this normal? It seems like a lot in just 12 months, given the seriousness of the injury. That's roughly an average of 1 concussion every 2.5 months.

 

Is this normal?

 

Thanks for your input.

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Yes, that is way too much in my opinion. There is no need for that. It sounds like the culture in that particular practice probably values "winning," and using physical attributes to do so, rather than skill development.

I'm all for the occasional hard spar, but it needs to be between two people of similar size and experience. Sparring in a manner that creates concussions with such frequency is both unnecessarily AND it trains people to be fearful strikers. If we need to survive in our home gym, we will only ever work our A game and defense. We will not be able to risk the costs of potentially being hit while we develop our B and C game. If you are a smaller person in a room like that, it is a good way to never really develop striking and potentially receive career ending injuries. It would be like trying to learn by only taking tests, with no actual lessons. Now, it's important to take tests here or there (fights) but if that's all we do, we stunt our growth. 

The team I spent many years with prior to working with a Thai trainer was exactly like that. I suffered multiple broken noses, several cuts, separated ribs, a separated shoulder, a broken hand, and a couple of popped MCLs. I was injured in that room more than I ever was in a fight. Since leaving that group, my injuries have been incredibly rare and my performances have been better than ever. Here's the crazy thing, almost none of the guys in that room were finishing people with strikes. It wasn't transfering to the ring. The big guys had become accustomed to using their power on smaller people that they did not have on their opponents, and the smaller guys would give opponents too much respect as they were used to being hit harder than an opponent their size ever could. 

The team I work with now does primarily timing sparring, with harder rounds here or there against similar size/experience teammates. Our results are WAY more consistent, and even the big guys have a very high KO ratio. It's not just safer training, it's more effective. 

 

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Sounds like a lot of injuries there, both of you! I would imagine that the occasional concussion/injury would occur in training simply by a bit of bad luck - but I agree with Kaitlinerose - 5 in a short time sounds like something is Not Right, unless there has been a run of genuine mistakes and bad luck (just as in any vigorous sport, however well regulated, there's always going to be the occasional statistical blip where there is a run of people getting hurt).

Take care.

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@Kaitlin Rose Young Thanks for your perspective and congrats on your recent win.

I apologize for my delayed response. I was quite at odds with your response, not because I disagree with it, but because I had a hard time thinking what that means for me and putting that into words. 

On 2/4/2019 at 8:46 PM, Kaitlin Rose Young said:

it trains people to be fearful strikers.

That was the path I was heading towards. I am usually the smallest and shortest in the room and I feel like I was spending the larger part of an one-hour class just covering my head, seldom actually on offense. I hated the experience and even get emotional from it.

The thing I'm at odds with is that I still think I am with a good team and at a good place for training. It's just that I am too small, too easily breakable, and fear that I am going to be "discarded" when I do become broken (injured).

I had been taking a break from sparring at my home gym (while still training there) and have been sparring at another gym every 2nd saturday. It helped a lot in terms of not being emotional about sparring. I am thinking of adding back sparring at my home gym into the mix. There has been 1 concussion (that I know of) so far this year. But I think some of the people that go especially hard has cycled out. So hope things get better. 

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On 2/5/2019 at 11:46 AM, Kaitlin Rose Young said:

Here's the crazy thing, almost none of the guys in that room were finishing people with strikes. It wasn't transfering to the ring. The big guys had become accustomed to using their power on smaller people that they did not have on their opponents, and the smaller guys would give opponents too much respect as they were used to being hit harder than an opponent their size ever could. 

 

Wow, your answer was really thorough and insightful for me. I am getting more sparring now at my gym than I ever have in my 7 years in Thailand. I consider myself only moderately experienced in sparring, given that I've had access to it so infrequently. That said, I have also experienced more significant injuries from sparring than I have in fights, with the exception of cuts. My nose was broken in a fight only once, but in training 3 times. Sometimes shit happens and it's that we spend way more time training than we do in the ring, so the probability is a factor, but in every single case of my nose being broken, it was my sparring partner getting emotional. I'll take some responsibility for the last one, I got pretty emotional, too. But I couldn't do that kind of damage to him.

Your point about it not transferring to the ring is so important. That's, for me, the whole question about hard versus light sparring - or really whatever it is that you're working on in sparring. If you need to be "tough" and that makes it into the ring, great. That's one of the things about watching Arjan Surat at Dejrat and how fucking hard he is on some of those fighters, is that you see them handle themselves in the ring and you're like, "oh, I know where he learned that." If it was just the hardness and the guys folded in the ring or were bullies in the ring, the exact same "great training" that I see would be shit training... for them. 

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