Which Combat Sports Pose the Highest Risk for Concussions?

man boxing with headguardIf you’ve ever seen combat sports, you probably are aware of how risky and violent some matches tend to get, despite the rules and regulations that are usually in place to help prevent serious injury occurring to any of the fighters. However, accidents happen more often than you would expect, and many fighters end up with serious injuries that sometimes last a lifetime.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the combat sports which pose the highest risk for concussions, and how you can try to prevent it from turning into something more serious. Let’s get started.

Professional Boxing

It goes without question that boxing still remains to be one of the most dangerous in the field of combat sports. There have been numerous cases where people were knocked out of consciousness, and even some of which resulted in death. 

Even if the injuries don’t always result in fatal injuries, it can cause minor to major concussions, especially since most of the blows are bound to fall near the head region. Concussions vary in degree—while some result in momentary daze and pain, the victim may recover quickly if the impact of the blow was not too hard. However, some concussions can result in permanent brain damage, especially if it isn’t treated immediately. 

In general, here’s what to do when a concussion (minor or major) occurs to a person who’s been hit on the head:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately. Some symptoms won’t be seen immediately, but can cause damage if left unchecked and untreated. 
  2. Get a CT and MRI scan to check for fractures. It is also advisable to do this if the victim has lost consciousness.
  3. Get a detailed assessment of all the symptoms the person is feeling. This can range from nausea to blurred vision.
  4. Medical examinations will also require the injured to take other scans, especially to check if there’s been any brain or spinal cord damage as well. 
  5. The injured will have to undergo a period of complete rest or treatment, depending on the severity of the concussion.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

MMA is a hybrid combat sport which combines different sports together (such as boxing, karate, judo, wrestling, Thai boxing, etc) and used to be banned in many countries due to the threat the sport posed to those who participated in it. However, it is now legal in almost all the countries in the world, but there are often serious injuries that are caused to those who participate in it. 

Among the different injuries, concussions are one of the most common, though a majority of them are mild in severity. A study in 2018 concluded that a mild brain injury occurs in 23.6 percent of MMA fighters, most of them resulting from minor concussions. 


Like MMA, kickboxing is also a combat sport which is a combination of many other sports such as karate, boxing, and Taekwondo. It involves kicking and punching, and is generally said to be one of the combat sports where head injuries occur among beginner kickboxers.

The head is usually the most common point of injury in this sport, and can result due to being punched or kicked by the opponent, making the chances of injury slightly more possible than in most other combat sports. 

Common signs of a Concussion

Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms that occur in those who have a concussion:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Short-term amnesia
  • Blood or liquid in ear
  • Nausea
  • Disoriented
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Neck pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Inability to balance oneself

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms following a blow to the head it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Always wear head protection when sparring, even if light sparring, as accidents can happen when training.

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