The Law on the Sport of Boxing
As many are aware, boxing involves huge risk to both the physical, and eventual psychological health, of those engaging in the sport. Both the intensity, and frequency of physical contact inherent in the sport inevitably results in many sustaining significant injury, some of which are, unfortunately, life altering.
The most common injuries arising from boxing are as follows:
• Head and brain injury, including concussion, unconsciousness, brain damage, loss of coordination, and nausea;
• Jaw and facial injury, resulting in a subluxed, fractured or a dislocated jaw;
• Shoulder injury, including shoulder dislocation or rotator cuff injury;
• Hand and wrist injury, including fractures and soft tissue injury;
• Neck, back and rib injury, sometimes resulting in significant spinal and rib injury;
• Kidney damage; although punching to the kidneys is illegal within the rules, accidental and/or negligent blows can result in serious kidney damage, which can in some cases, result in kidney failure.
In December 2014, the Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children released a report on “Concussion in Sport”. Studies show that boxing has the second highest rate of concussion in Ireland, after horseracing.
In most cases, when one engages in a sport involving physical contact, such as boxing, they are consenting to a certain degree of injury by way of implication as a result of engaging in such activity. Many of those involved in the sport will be well – informed and aware of the likelihood of the abovementioned injuries occurring at some point in their professional/amateur career.
However, there are many instances in which conduct inside the ring goes beyond that expected when one consents to the risk involved. Under such circumstances, any injury arising from such conduct may result in the right to compensation. Should an act fall outside of the sporting rules, and therefore be “illegal”, any injury resulting from such act, or omission, will give rise to the right to compensation.
Negligence may arise in a number of ways, resulting in the right to compensation upon sustaining injury in the ring. For example, where a referee or umpire fails in their duty to ensure that risks are minimized, within reason, any injury resulting from their failure in that duty may give rise to compensation. Similarly, if there is a dangerous defect present in the equipment, or if the facilities are poorly maintained, one may be able to seek damages for personal injury suffered by them, once liability and causation can be shown.
The type of compensation one may be entitled to can vary from case to case. In most instances, one will be able to receive compensation in the form of general damages, which compensate the injured party for the pain and suffering caused to them as a result of the injury. In other cases, compensation may extend to special damages, which cover the plaintiff’s medical expenses, and any other expense incurred by them as a result of the injury. These expenses extend to travel, accommodation and pharmaceutical. In more serious cases, a plaintiff may be entitled to claim for their loss of earnings, as a result of being unable to engage in gainful employment as a result of their injuries, or alternatively if they are unable to remain in a position of employment that they had filled previously due to either physical, or mental, deterioration and restriction.