Boxers should be better educated about the risks of brain injuries, says Sheffield fighter
Sheffield super lightweight Lee Connelly claims that many boxers remain ignorant about the long-term dangers posed by the sport.
The Westfield fighter was devastated by the recent death of Penistone campaigner Scott Westgarth, who suffered a brain injury at a show in Doncaster.
And he says that if anything positive is to come out of the tragedy, it is that more people in the sport should be better educated about proper preparation, diets and hydration.
Father-of-one Connelly admitted he had been “ignorant” about the risks involved and thinks, generally, that all trainers and managers should guide their fighters with close scrutiny.
“Sometimes when I have had a fight I noticed my memory and speech is not so good but ofcourse I can’t see inside my head so I don’t know what long term damage may be going on” he said.
“I have made a lot of mistakes in fights I have taken at short notice and have decided to improve my defensive style so I don’t take as many shots. I used to think every fight I was in had to be like Gatti v Ward.
“The Boxing Board makes sure we are safer than most countries but I think there is still room for managers and trainers to do more - spread the knowledge.
“If they see someone dehydrated and not making weight properly they have to step in.
“There should be more research and boxers should be educated so they know exactly how to protect themselves from concussions and other injuries.
“We all know that being hit on the head can’t be good for you - but are we doing enough to minimise the risks?
“I’ve never been given full advice on making weight right and still don’t fully understand the long term effects of being hit in the head a lot” said Connelly, 30.