(FEB 13) The British & Irish
Boxing Authority (BIBA) are set to introduce hand held
Infra-Scanners, that can detect Brain bleeds, at events
sanctioned by themselves in the United Kingdom and Republic of
On announcing the introduction of Infra-Scanners, that will be
available ringside at events sanctioned by them, BIBA Vice
President Gianluca Di Caro said.
“We are extremely proud to be the
first to introduce Infra-Scanners at events in the United
Kingdom and Ireland, as we whole heartedly believe having them
ringside will significantly prevent further tragedies within our
Before expanding further and explain what had led to the
decision to introduce the use of Infra-Scanners at BIBA events,
Gio emphasised that some recent fights has speeded up their
“Following two major head injury incidents last year, one that
resulted in the death of Mike Towell, even though neither were
on events sanctioned by ourselves, the BIBA board had decided to
actively seek solutions regarding improving the way that
injuries such as these can be detected as quickly as possible.
The first move we made was to appoint renowned forensic sports
scientist Professor Michael Graham PhD to our Ringside Medical
Officer & Medical Advisory Board.
Professor Graham led the team that produced the internationally
published papers “Direct Hits to the Head During Amateur Boxing
is Associated With a Rise in Serum Biomarkers For Brain Injury”
& “Should an Increase in Cerebral Neurochemicals Following Head
Kicks in Karate Influence Return to Play?”
Professor Graham and his esteemed team are currently researching
the short-term and long-term effects of head injuries in Rugby
as well as preparing, in conjunction with ourselves and a
prestigious UK University, a long term research project to
assess cognitive function following brain trauma.
Around the time of the appointment of Professor Graham, our CMO,
Dr. Louise Eccles, proposed that we should investigate obtaining
Infra-Scanners, as the use of these would massively assist in
detecting problems such as a bleed on the brain quickly,
especially as there is only a limited amount of time to assess
the location of such an injury”.
Clearly the BIBA Board had also been listening to the strong
opinions of those boxers and their families – and supporters too
- who had demanded from Governments and from sporting bodies
urgent action following a spate of deaths and serious injuries
in several sports.
Gio di Caro explains:
“Following Louise’s advice, I contacted the manufacturers and am
extremely proud to say that the initial trial unit will arrive
later this month, hopefully in time for the 26th February event
in Bradford, that features two ten round International contests.
We have initially ordered two Infra-Scanners which will be
operated by Professor Graham and Dr Eccles at our events, and
are aiming to order a further eight units over the coming twelve
months, so that every BIBA Ringside Doctor will have an
Infra-Scanner available by 2018.
Both the appointment of Professor Graham and the introduction of
Infra-Scanners, are just two pro-active decisions made by
ourselves with regard to Boxer Health & Safety, there are more
to come, as Professor Graham and another of our Ringside Medical
Officer & Medical Advisory Board, Dr Mark Xuereb have also
proposed the introduction of further safety measures, one of
which is the introduction of Cognitive Testing, which will come
into force very soon.
We believe that Boxer Health & Safety is paramount, as such we
will continue researching procedures that can assist us provide
the very best medical evaluations possible.”
The British Boxing Board of Control does not recognise BIBA .
The BBBofC told BBC Sport it "does not recognise" BIBA - known
as the Malta Boxing Commission until 2016 - and that it will
continue to do its own research and use its own medical
Speaking later to the British boxing media ,BIBA vice-president
Gianluca Di Caro told BBC Sport: "It's not about us and the
fighters we work with versus fighters with other organisations.
It is about all the fighters.
"If there is a fighter anywhere, who has been suffering with
headaches, he needs to know we will go to him and do a scan.
Sometimes we will just have to move quickly to ensure that any
boxer can be helped.
"We will have one scanner by 22 February, another is on order
and our aim is to have 10. I will raise the sponsorship to do
Following Mike Towell’s death some six months ago, and other
significant injuries in the Pro sport,there has been a national
demand for better equipment being made available at all major
fights than can detect brain damage.
The late Mike Towell’s girlfriend, Chloe Ross posted on Facebook:
"I'm glad to be finally seeing something good coming from what
happened to Michael. It shouldn't take someone's life for these
things to be used but if it saves someone else's life then that
can only be a good thing."
In other media comment, Sky News’ Health & Science
Correspondent, Thomas Moore, highlighted the benefits of the use
of the Infra-Scanners, that can detect brain bleeds with an
accuracy of 90%, often before any symptoms such as headaches or
confusion become apparent, following the death of Mike Towell.
In the article Mr. Moore stated “Compulsory brain imaging using
Infra-Scanners could be “massive” for boxers who risk death from
In our view it is something that the AIBA should also be looking
at introducing at the Olympic Games, World Championships and
initially other major International competitions. Other
professional bodies too. A small price to pay if death and
serious brain bleeds can be greatly reduced in near future.