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Australian Docs Push for Stricter MMA Safety Regulation Rules Including Certification of MMA Trainers

(What I want to know is, how does he reach his instruments in his pouch?)

A group of Australian physicians that treated a 41-year-old Queensland man who suffered a stroke due to an injury he purportedly suffered during a recreational grappling class have published an article in a medical journal calling for the implementation of increased safety measures, including stricter governance of the sport’s trainers in the country.

In a report prepared by attending physicians Dr Michael Slowey, Dr Graeme Maw, and Dr Jeremy Furyk for Emergency Medicine Australasia — the journal of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine — they state that the victim originally thought he had suffered mild to moderate neck strain, but was later diagnosed with a vertebral tear that caused the stroke.

“This case highlights the risks posed by participation in sports, such as MMA, both in competition and in training,” Dr Slowey is quoted as saying. “People need to be aware of the real risk of permanent neurological damage. Although grappling is permitted in MMA, prevention of this form of injury is clearly a major problem. In this case, the patient has been advised to refrain from further participation in any form of martial arts.”

The Aussie group maintains that they aren’t calling for a ban on MMA or training, but they do ask that the government get involved in regulating the certification of trainers who teach at gyms and dojos where aspiring fighters or recreational MMA hobbyists train before incidents like this become more common.

“At the end of the day no matter what the sport is, I don’t think doctors are going to get much chance of changing the rules,” he says. “But if we make people aware of the risks then the governing bodies can take things into consideration.”

Besides tighter guidelines for MMA gyms, the trio is also seeking stricter controls similar to boxing, including independent accreditation of officials, records kept of fighters’ suspensions and injuries and licensing of fight promoters.

“You do that and you will have an appropriately run, much safer sport for everyone,” President of the Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA) Walt Missingham  says.

“With a broader range of styles and rules comes a wider range of injuries,” Dr Slowey explains. “Most injuries in MMA are facial lacerations, upper limb injuries and concussions.The documented injury rate is 23.6 per 100 fight participations, with severe concussion rates of 15.4 per 1000 athlete exposures, or 3% of all fights.”

They’ve definitely done their homework and they have a point, since just about anyone, regardless of whether or not they are qualified to teach can rent a storefront, put “MMA” on the door and begin selling memberships to unsuspecting customers. At the very least, for insurance purposes gym owners should have to ensure that they have an employee who is certified in CPR and first aid on hand whenever the doors are open. Although certification won’t stop freak injuries like this from happening, having a group to investigate the cause of the mishap and offer suggestions or levy sanctions such as license suspensions for the offending parties would go a long way at preventing them.

I’ve been seriously injured in training due to the negligence (see stupidity) of a training partner and it definitely could have been prevented if the idiot who did it was educated by a competent trainer. That’s not to say that the trainer didn’t have the creds to teach, he simply failed to run through the rules of the gym and what was allowed during rolling and sparring. I was lucky that my injury healed up for the most part. Some aren’t so lucky.

Cagepotato Comments

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FlyingNinjaGoGoPlata- November 11, 2011 at 10:25 am
injuries happen in every walk of life. it's part of living. i am a martial arts instructor myself, and have also been injured training jiu jitsu (clean break tibia fibula. my leg looked like an "s"). all of that being said, in my gym we do our best to establish a good training culture. the idea we consistently run into our student's heads is to be slow and methodical, to train at your partner's level (if you're a purple belt rolling with a white belt, for example), and not to try anything you aren't absolutely positive you know how to do. watching a youtube video on flying armbars for 5 minutes doesn't mean next roll session you should go throwing flying armbars. we do our best to establish our rules for sparring, and we never let noobies (no stripe white belts) free roll; only positional wrestling. we constantly remind our students that injured students can't train. however, we are also a business. that means we have to legally cover our ass. all of our instructors are certified in cpr and first aid. the only significant injury we've ever had is my broken leg. aznd we do our best to keep it that way.
Sloppyspray- November 10, 2011 at 6:26 am
I for one think neck injuries are very serious and should not be taken lightly. However, there are many other activities which continually place individuals at risk for neck injury when they are not performed with proper form. For example, BJs. All women should have to first watch a video of, and be instructed by, Jenna Haze before they can perform a BJ. The last thing we want is more neck injuries and then the BJs start to lack enthusiasm. That is all.
BaghdadBob- November 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm
Not to much all such similar regulatory schemes are a fucking joke, fill out the paperwork, jump through the hopes, and most importantly, cop over the cash to the government so they stamp your paperwork and send you on your merry way. It has no relation to ferreting out poor instructors and becomes simply about raising revenue.
BaghdadBob- November 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm
There is already ample regulation provided by civil society: it's called the belt system.
fatbellyfrank- November 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm
Can only be a good thing, nothing worse than kids walking away from sports because of poor instructors
AndyInflammatory- November 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm
when I was abut a wee white belted noob, I was thrown into a free-rolling session against a big hairy white belt bodybuilding type who outweighed me by about 30kg.

NO HEEL HOOKS was the main rule of the class, but that didn't stop the instructor engouraging his gorilla-pet as he LITERALLY tried to tear my head off. His technique was much like how you open a banana before you peel it.
Fried Taco- November 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm
Sorry about that injury, but I saw this really cool twister video and had to try it.