Kids' boxing ban ludicrous

EARL MCRAE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

OTTAWA - The Canadian Paediatric Society is calling for a ban on amateur boxing for kids 18 years and under, and the reason it wants this is because the Canadian Paediatric Society hasn’t got a clue what the hell it’s talking about.

This bunch of whiney hand-wringers thinks it's impressive by stating that kids under 18 should be prohibited from boxing because they’re “encouraged” to target the head, with consequential concussions and serious brain damage, and that the whole purpose of these amateur pugilists is to inflict pain and injury on their opponents.

Leading the ludicrous, ignorant charge in this country is one Dr. Claire LeBlanc, chair of the CPS Healthy Active Living And Sports Medicine Committee. LeBlanc: “Are children begging to take part in boxing and mixed martial arts programs? Or is this something that’s being encouraged by parents or society in general? We want to protect that child or youth if nobody else will.”

Hey, Claire, you know what? SHADDUP!

It’s you bunch of mind-controlling fascists our amateur boxing boys and girls need protecting from, not the other way around.

I wonder if the CPS is aware of an independent neurological study of amateur boxers by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes in the late ’80s that found “no clinically-significant evidence of permanent impairment of motor skills, loss of co-ordination or memory, or slurred speech among the active amateur boxers.”

Or a late 1990s study by the National Safety Council that ranked amateur boxing “the safest of all contact sports,” ranked 23rd in injury-producing sports, its fatality rate minuscule and considerably behind amateur football, baseball, hockey, scuba diving, mountaineering, sky diving, and several others.

And that amateur football, for example, was responsible for 450,000 concussions annually in the U.S., 95% of all catastrophic sports injuries.

Joey Sandulo, former Canadian Olympic boxer, has been running the Beaver Boxing Club in Ottawa for decades, the CPS isn’t even on the same planet when it comes to his knowledge of amateur boxing, its highly-regulated safety standards, his compassion for the thousands upon thousands of kids over the years from homes good and bad that have trained at the club.

“About 98% of the members aren’t there to box, or become boxers, they’re there for the conditioning, to get in shape.” Asked if he’s ever had one of his boxers sustain a brain injury, he says: “No. Never. Not one.”

Amateur boxers are government-regulated to wear safety-standard appoved shock-absorbing head gear that covers much of the face, gloves are from 12 to 16 ounces compared to six and eight ounces for the pros. Rounds are limited to three, and are from one minute to two minutes depending on the age of the kids.

The amateur boxers have to pass a medical before they can spar, the day of a fight, after the fight, the onus is on fighter safety with the ring physician, the coaches, and referee having the authority to stop bouts at any time.

The imperative is not head hunting, not malice, not damaging an opponent, but on scoring target, tactical, points through boxing skills and strategy. Very few fights end by TKO or knockout.

Boxers are not hooligan street fighters, swinging from the fences, hoping to maim. “I wouldn’t have a kid if that was why he joined us,” says Sandulo. There’s a reason boxing is called “the sweet science.”

Jill Perry, coach at the Beaver club, former top-ranked Canadian amateur boxer. “Most of the kids are not here to become boxers. We teach discipline, moral values, self-confidence in a fun, but intense, strictly controlled environment. The discipline and human values we teach transfer to anything in life.”

No, says Jill Perry, the CPS just doesn’t get it. Maybe, it confuses amateur boxing with the entirely different pro boxing and its ethics and purposes. “Comparing amateur boxing to pro boxing,” she says, “is like comparing cross-country skiing to alpine skiing.”

Spencer Bryne, 12: “I wouldn’t want to have a ban. Nobody gets hurt in the boxing part. It’s very safe.”

Nate Hertner, 16: “There are hardly any head shots, and 90% of the hits are blocked.”

Richard Domino, 16: “I do want to be a boxer one day. I love the training for it. It's harder than any other sport. You don’t box to kill a person. Sure, there’s contact, but you deal with it.” The CPS? He makes a face as if he’s bitten into a lemon. “What do they know?”

Nuthin', that’s what.


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