Adonis Stevenson’s severe TBI provides a reminder of the brain injury risks of boxing
Concussions and brain injuries have been a part of boxing for as long as the sport existed, but it is easy for most fans to ignore the implications of these injuries because they aren’t visible during fights. A fighter may seem slow to get up, but the bulk of their symptoms appear after the fight is over and they are left to recover in private.
However, a recent highly watched fight provided a stark reminder of the serious nature of brain injuries and the risks of boxing.
During a fight earlier this week, Canadian boxer Adonis Stevenson was knocked unconscious with a severe traumatic brain injury while defending the World Boxing Council light heavyweight title against Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Gvozdyk.
After he lost consciousness, Stevenson was carried out of the ring on a stretcher and immediately taken to CHU de Quebec-Universite Laval.
While doctors are keeping the details of his injury and treatment mostly private, Dr. Alexis Turgeon provided a public update saying, “Mr. Stevenson underwent surgery on the night of Saturday to Sunday and has since been admitted to the intensive care unit.”
“His condition requires mechanical respiratory assistance, deep sedation and specialized neurological monitoring. It is too early to comment on Mr. Stevenson’s long-term prognosis.”
Stevenson’s promoter Yvon Michel said that although the boxer’s status was initially described as critical, he has become stable.
During the press conference, Turgeon declined to predict Stevenson’s recovery but noted that injuries like the fighter’s often lead to long-term neurological damage.
“We’ve seen cases like this, but each situation is unique,” he said.
While “mild” brain injuries are common in the sport, it is rare that fans are able to see the immediate impact of high-velocity hits to the head. It is unlikely to change the nature of the sport or lead to increased safety precautions, but Stevenson’s injury is a reminder that brain injuries like those in boxing are a serious issue that can have lifelong effects.