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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Cynthia A. Bir


The specific aims of this project were: 1) to measure the punch forces delivered by male and female amateur boxers using an anthropomorphic surrogate; 2) to measure location, frequency, and severity of impacts during sparring sessions and cognitive function was assessed before and after session and; 3) to measure location, frequency, and severity of impacts during competitive bouts and assess cognitive function before and after bout.

Mild to severe injuries are a known repercussion of participating in contact sports. Acute and chronic brain injuries may be a result of repetitive sub-concussive impacts. Concussions (mild traumatic brain injuries) are a concern in both professional and amateur boxing. The injury profile of this sport has been well defined however, more research is need when defining the forces exerted an opponent and how the head response to those forces. Also, female participation in this once male dominated sport is increasing and gender specific biomechanical data is needed.

Maximum effort punch force data was collected using a Hybrid III dummy. Male boxers generated significantly higher punch force values for each punch, resulting in significantly higher head accelerations of the headform and injury criterion. A novel head acceleration measurement system, IBH, was found to provide a much needed method to measure head acceleration in boxers in the ring. The system was used in during sparring sessions and competitive bouts. Male and female data was collected during sparring sessions. No significant difference was found between genders when analyzing the impacts sustained. Also, the impacts collected during competitive bouts were not significantly different from those sustained during a sparring session. The majority of the impacts, both during sparring and competition, were below thresholds suggested from published literature. The cognitive function of the athletes was collected both before and after exposures. No concussions were noted from a ringside physician's assessment; however, decreases in delayed memory and concentration were noted from additional cognitive tests administered as a part of the study.

In general, more competitive data should be collected in hopes of capturing concussive events. Additionally, recruitment should focus on female participants in the future. Compared to male boxers, the population of female boxers at competitive events is sparse and the need for their participation is immense.

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