Posts Tagged ‘Second-impact syndrome

15
Jun
13

Women’s Boxing champ Frida Wallberg KO sends her to the hospital for emergency brain surgery.

UPDATE 3 (6/16/2013):  The Swedish press is reporting some very good news. It seems Frida Wallberg is off the respirator, awake and talking. It’s also been reported that the bleed was not an internal brain hemorrhage, but a blood vessel at the outer edge between the meninges and the brain. This is excellent in terms of her recovery and likely she will be kept in the hospital for another 5-6 days so that she can continue to be assessed and have the rest she needs. Meanwhile, the matter is being investigated by Swedish boxing authorities.

Women’s Boxing champ Frida Wallberg KO sends her to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. UPDATE 1  & 2 (below)

Boxer Frida Wallberg being assisted by Lucia Rijker and opponent Diana Prazak shortly after Wallberg's devastating KO loss to Prazak on 6/14/2013. Credit: Maja Suslin/Scanpix

Boxer Frida Wallberg being assisted by Lucia Rijker and opponent Diana Prazak shortly after Wallberg’s devastating KO loss to Prazak on 6/14/2013. Credit: Maja Suslin/Scanpix

Swedish Boxer Frida Wallberg (11-1, 2-KOs) suffered a devastating KO in her title fight against the new WBC super featherweight champion, Australian fighter Diana Prazak (12-2, 8-KOs). It has left the wildly popular Wallberg in an intensive care bed at the Karolinksa Hospital in Sweden on a respirator. She was placed in a medically induced coma after receiving emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain from a cerebral hemorrhage. Surgery took place in the early morning hours after the bout.

Prazak spent the night pummeling Wallberg with bombs and rocked her in the 7th round with a sweeping left according to a report on boxingscene.com. Wallberg buckled under the force of the blow, but continued the round.  In the 8th round, seemingly still under the effects of the 7th round blow, Wallberg was on the receiving end of Prazak’s hard punching. Wallberg was knocked to the canvas by short left hook, but after getting up and receiving an 8-count from the referee, Bela Florian, she continued only to be hit by a short right hook which sent her to the deck again.  Bela Florian called the fight at that point and Prazak was given the KO win.

Wallberg was assisted to the corner by Florian, her nose bleeding and tentative in her movements. Even as she was being examined by the ring doctor, one could observe her visibly slumping and hanging on to the ropes. Still he walked away, and it was the quick thinking of Prasak’s trainer, Lucia Rijker who while celebrating her own fighter’s victory saw that Wallberg was in trouble and ran to her aid. Rijker demanded that the doctor return and that Wallberg be given serious medical aid. Wallberg was subsequently attended to and brought out of the ring on a stretcher.

Wallberg’s boyfriend, Robert Ludwig later told the Swedish press that she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage described as a stroke. In other reports, it has been said that doctors may try to revive Wallberg at some point today to assess her condition.

UPDATE 1: According to press accounts from Sweden, Frida was partially brought out of her coma and has had her medications reduced to assist in the process of bringing her to consciousness. That will reportedly happen at about 4:00 PM, 6.15.2013, Swedish Time. No word was given on the state of her injuries or likely prognosis. The press is continuing to state that she suffered a stroke.

UPDATE 2: Wallberg was reportedly awakened, was able to move her fingers and answers questions, but from what could be gleaned, she has likely been re-sedated somewhat to allow her time to heal. There is some cause for optimism, but no answer yet on whether she will make a full recovery from the stroke–and things are still very serious at this point. She remains in the hospital in intensive care.

Whatever happens, under Swedish boxing rules, Wallberg will no longer be able to box professionally in Sweden.  It is also said that she had an MRI two weeks ago as part of her pre-fight medical which showed no signs of abnormality or vessel weakness.

Wallberg’s last fight was 14 months ago against the tough Brooklyn fighter, Amanda Serrano (17-1, 12-KOs). Wallberg won the fight by decision in her native Sweden. Prazak on the other hand most recently fought Holly Holm (33-2, KOs-9) for a shot at the then vacant IBAF and WBF female light welterweight titles. It was Prazak’s only loss.

Responding to questions about Wallberg in a post-fight interview, Prazak with her coach Rijker was overwhelmed by the quick succession of winning the title after a long hard road of training — and the sense that her only way to defeat Wallberg to take the title was by KO, given that the fight was on Wallberg’s home turf in Sweden — and the devastation of knowing that Prazak was so seriously injured.  As Prazak said on her Facebook page last night, “All fighters want the win by KO … just what we had planned and trained for [came] at a big cost.” She went on to say, “My prayers and thoughts are with Frida and her loved ones. Please send your prayers and thoughts for her too.”

Ishika Lay in Recovery, Photo: Florida Times Union

Ishika Lay in Recovery, Photo: Florida Times Union

The injury sustained by Wallberg and subsequent surgery is reminiscent of the devastation suffered by Ishika Lay in November 2011. During Lay’s bid for the National Golden Gloves in the run-up to the Olympic Trials, she collapsed in the ring, the likely victim of second impact syndrome–a form of brain injury that occurs when brain injuries are not given adequate time to heal.

Whenever this happens in boxing — questions arise as to the role that coaches, managers, referees and ringside physicians play in the health and safety of fighters in the ring. The safety of fighters outside the ring, during training, is just as important, if not more so, and it is up to those who care for their fighters to take the precautions necessary to keep their boxers safe–incorporating the adage “when in doubt sit it out.”

It is helpful that in Sweden fighters are required to have brain scans on a regular basis. The fact that Wallberg was cleared two weeks prior to the fight is also good. What we don’t know is whether she sustained any serious head blows in the interval between her MRI and the day of the fight that could have compromised her in some way. By all reports both fighters had tough training camps in preparation for the bout–Wallberg had also been coming to the fight after a 14 month layoff and whether that had anything to do with the severity of her injury is also unknown.

What we do know is that boxers, hockey players, football players, MMA fighters and other athletes in close contact sports sustain traumatic brain injuries–the question is how can we all help protect these remarkable athletes from further trauma. We know that fighters in particular aim for the KO. It is the “cookies” in boxing–and let’s face it, is what garners the big money fights on the men’s side of game, and while women make a pittance by comparison, the KO remains the holy grail.

Making sports illegal is certainly not the answer, but making sports safer with headgear that can minimize the impact of such injuries, as well as vigilance in the gym, on the playing field and in the ring, would seem to be a step in the right direction. Rethinking the importance of big hits is also something to consider–though that is an unlikely change.

06
Feb
12

Living each day.

Living each day.

Whether it is the dangers of the ring, such as the one that has seen Ishika Lay on her long road to recovery from second-impact syndrome, or something closer to home, such as the sudden illness of a relative or friend, living each day to its fullest is an important mantra:  even when that means walking away from the things we love to do.

That means not only pursuing your dreams, but knowing when to sit out because the risks are too great.

Have a headache after sparring that won’t go away?  Go and get it checked out and follow the mantra:  when in doubt, sit it out.

I know we all tend to ignore the long-term effects of our actions or even cast a “blind eye” to their very existence, but headaches and the like are also symptoms of acute problems that can be dealt with much more readily early on.  Sometimes it is only a matter of facing down the demons that seem to haunt us when we contemplate the “why” question that prevents us from taking the next step — say to a doctor’s office.  Not to do so, however, is to play a dangerous game of roulette with one’s own health and well-being.  It is also an example of breaking a cardinal rule that can best be translated as cheating at solitaire.

Here’s another one: Do you have indigestion every time you eat a slice of pizza?  Or in the absence of that, cough after every pasta or pizza meal?  Has it seemed to escalate at night lately, even when you don’t eat pizza? Go and get that checked! And P.S. … stop eating pizza and pasta till you know what’s going on.  At the very least you might have GERD (Gastric Esophageal Reflux Disease), but it also might mean (depending on your age), that you are starting to see changes to the actual make-up of your esophagus (Barrett’s Esophagus) which can lead to “no joke” complications.

I bring this all up because so many of us “live” with things that we think are nothing that end up being a big something in a hurry when we least expect it.  When that happens the effects are often horrendous, both to the individual undergoing treatment and to family and friends who suffer along with each bump in the road.

Athletes presumably have a great sense of their bodies – certainly of the cause and effects of too little sleep, poor eating habits and so on; however, that doesn’t always translate into evaluating the relative risks of injuries or of even recognizing that the twinge in a shoulder is really a rotator cuff injury about to blow.

That’s when we all have to take some responsibility not only for our own health and well-being, but for what we see going on around us by taking to heart the “if you see something, say something” mantra.  Sure, you might be accused of putting your nose into someone’s business, but you well might recognize something that your sparring partner just doesn’t see.

Part of living each day certainly translates into living it with gusto, but we also need to be cognizant of all the aspects of our day, even the things we’d rather ignore.  The problem is the things we ignore have a way of slamming us in the face whether we acknowledge them or not, and for my money, it’s better to face an issue head on than wait for the unexpected surprise.

05
Feb
12

***FLASH*** Girlboxing on the radio!

***FLASH*** Girlboxing on the radio starting at 9:00 AM!

Girlboxing will be on the radio this morning speaking with John M. Phillips on his Courts & Sports radio show. We’ll be talking about head injuries in sport, Ishika Lay, her injury and recovery, Olympic Boxing and the first ever female boxing Olympic trials in Spokane, Washington, and maybe even a little about the Superbowl.

Here’s the link to listen in:  Court & Sports, WOKV

31
Jan
12

Miracles happen, Ishika Lay on the road to recovery!

Miracles happen, Ishika Lay on the road to recovery!

Back in October at the 2011 PAL Championships as Ishika Lay lapsed into a coma in critical condition at St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, her family, friends and the boxing world worried that she might not recover.

Ishika Lay in Recovery, Photo: Florida Times Union

Ishika Lay, a consummate athlete who had been well on her way towards a berth in the upcoming Olympic Trials, has turned the proverbial tide, and while she has lost her shot at representing the United States this year, she is well on the way towards recovery nearly four months later.

It is believed that Ishika Lay suffered from Second-Impact Syndrome. While not as well-known as other head injuries, Second-Impact Syndrome occurs when an athlete already reeling from a blow  actually succumbs to a second blow days or even weeks afterwards. As in Ishika Lay’s case, she had taken a shot while sparring ten days before, and had even complained of headaches, but had otherwise not been encouraged to see a doctor or in anyway treat her symptoms.

In her first PAL bout, the likely winner of the contest, she was never hit hard, but athletes suffering from Second-Impact Syndrome can fall horribly ill even from the lightest of impacts due to the fact that their brains haven’t had a chance to recover from the initial impact. This is the likely scenario that felled Ishika Lay.

As noted in Garry Smits article entitled Women’s Boxer Ishika Lay recovers after coma,  the mantra “when in doubt sit it out,” must become the new normal in boxing.  In Ishika Lay’s case, while it would have meant disappointment at being scratched from her PAL match, she wouldn’t have otherwise undergone her life-threatening ordeal.

Thankfully, Ishika Lay is on the road to recovery with thrice weekly rehabilitation on an outpatient basis at a hospital near  her home in Florida, and lots of additional therapy at home with her mother.

Girlboxing sends lots of love Ishika’s way with the sure knowledge that she is being remembered in a lot of prayers.

Links:

Women’s Boxer Ishika Lay recovers after coma (Florida Times Union.com)

Second Impact Syndrome (Good overview from sportsmd.com )

Second Impact Syndrome (National Institute of Health)

28
Oct
11

Women’s Boxing: Update on Ishika Lay

Women’s Boxing: Update on Ishika Lay.

Girlboxing received an email from John M. Phillips the attorney for Ishika Lay and her family. As you may recall, Ishika collapsed during a boxing match on October 4th at the recent 2011 PAL Championships.  She has been in critical condition at Mercy St. Vincent Hospital since her collapse.

While there is some cause for cautious optimism, the family has asked that we all keep Ishika in our thoughts and prayers.  The update is as follows:

The family continues to appreciate the outpouring of support and prayers.   Ishika is still in intensive care, but has had remarkable signs of recovery over the past few days. She is breathing on her own, moving her arms and legs some and is showing great signs of improvement. Please join me and continue to keep this inspirational young lady in your thoughts and prayers.  
It is believed that Ishika suffered from second-impact syndrome, which is where the brain suffers two traumas in a short period of time and is often fatal.  The second trauma is often insignificant, but leads to the most dire consequences.  Head injuries have been taken lightly for far too long and the long term effects are devastating.
As a side note, we are in the process of scheduling a head injury awareness day and provide free medical directives and living wills, so people can be better prepared to deal with the consequences of an unexpected debilitating injury.  Donations will be accepted to benefit Ishika Lay. 
Updated information will be posted as received.
Video about Ishika Lay:




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