The Queensland Government is considering new regulations for combat sports in the state following cases of boxing-related deaths. According to State Sports Minister Curtis Pitt, the government is examining how these reforms can be introduced.
The ABC had reported that all successive governments had been making promises on regulating combat sports. But ultimately they all retracted. Queensland is the only state other than the Northern Territory not having any regulations on combat sports such as boxing.
“I would say though that we’re always looking to improve safety in sport, I think particularly when it comes to junior sport. I think it indicates that there is cause for the government to closely monitor what is happening,” Pitt said
The demand for better regulation in Queensland boxing intensified after the tragic death of a promising young boxer. Braydon Smith was a 23-year-old law student when he died in March 2015. He slumped in the ring half way through his featherweight fight against Filipino John Moralde. Though he was taken to the hospital, he never regained consciousness and died two days later.
Following Smith’s death, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) demanded a ban on the sport. Queensland branch president of AMA, Dr Chris Zappala said unguarded exposure of younger people to boxing will be harmful. “When they’re in the developing stages in terms of their brain and motor function it really is a risk and potential injury they can do without,” Dr Zappala said.
Smith’s death was also referred to the Queensland coroner for a broad-based investigation. Before Smith’s death, amateur boxer Alex Slade, 19 also met with a boxing tragedy. In October 2010, Slade slumped to the canvas during a fight in Mackay. He later died at a Townsville hospital.
Sports lawyer Tim Fuller was part of the consultations with the Queensland Government for regulating boxing, following Slade’s death. Fuller said it looks outrageous that nothing has changed even after two deaths in boxing sport.
Meanwhile, the Australian Olympic Committee has advised pregnant team members, readying for Brazil Olympics, to seriously consider whether they want to attend the games. The advisory came in the aftermath of the outbreak of Zika virus. It reportedly harms pregnant women and causes birth abnormalities, reports The Olympian. Australia team chef de mission Kitty Chiller said the team’s medical director David Hughes would provide updated information about Zika virus.