Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deafness & Equilibrium

Are deaf fighters more susceptible to knockouts in boxing and in the Ultimate Fighting ring? That was the recent opinion expressed by Tito Ortiz, who'll take on Matt Hamill, who is deaf, this Saturday in a UFC competition taking place in California. Dr. Johnny Benjamin had this to say about it in a medical column:

Deafness, equilibrium and concussions (knockouts) have little, if any,
significant relationship. Deafness is a loss of hearing, not balance. The inner
ear has some function in both hearing and equilibrium, but they are very
separate issues. urthermore, what any of this has to do with an athlete's
ability to withstand a blow to the head is difficult to understand. Concussions
are an issue involving brain function and not the inner ear and/or vestibular
apparatus. There is not a shred of reputable medical literature that even
suggests that deaf athletes are more susceptible to concussions than any other
athlete.

Dr. Benjamin is a member of the Association of Boxing Commissions' MMA Medical Subcommittee.

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