While male boxers won’t be wearing protective headgear at the Olympics this year, women still have to wear it to compete. Yes, we’re skeptical about the removal of headgear from the games. But we’re even more unsettled by the fact that female athletes are receiving different treatment than men (especially in an area where both genders really are equal). Whoever made this new rule should have stopped to consider whether or not men and women get concussions the exact same way.
For the first time in 40 years, headgear is being seen as more of a threat to athletes than a protective tool at the Olympics. Not only can the gear cut athletes faces badly, which could potentially make them too bloody to compete, but their vision can be a bit obstructed by it too.
“The athletes who didn’t have headgear had a 43 per cent decrease in the observable signs of concussions,” said Dr. Charles Butler on behalf of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) medical commission. The AIBA even got athletes to ditch the headgear at the 2013 world championship after sharing research pointing to how men were less likely to get concussions without the headgear. So if there are all these amazing benefits of not wearing headgear, why do women still have to?
According to the AIBA, there’s a lack of scientific evidence saying that women would also benefit from the removal of headgear. Which means they just didn’t care enough to study female boxers too.
On the bright side, this obvious case of sexism may have saved the day. A neurosurgeon from Toronto Western Hospital, Dr. Charles Tator, believes that it’s safer to wear boxing headgear since the previous study didn’t consider the damage from getting multiple hits to the head. And let’s face it, this is the Olympic Games we’re talking about–multiple hits to the head will be taken, no matter the athlete’s gender.
Check out the video above to learn more about the new headgear rules at the Olympic Games this year.