World Boxing Association Partners with Psychedelics Company to Improve Brain Injury Treatment for Athletes
World Boxing Association Partners with Psychedelics Company to Improve Brain Injury Treatment for Athletes

Another boxing association has partnered with a psychedelics company to understand how psychedelic medicine can prevent injuries and optimize athlete performance.

The World Boxing Association (WBA) is working with Lobe Sciences, a Canadian life sciences company specializing in the development of alternative medicines for improved brain health, to build and launch a global registry for the identification and long-term management of current and former boxers with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

mTBI – also referred to as a concussion –  is a usually non-life-threatening injury that occurs when a person’s brain cells are damaged temporarily from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating injury. A person can also experience a moderate or severe TBI, which can have life-long effects, such as the development of PTSD, or even cause death. Sadly, there are about 166 TBI-related deaths in the United States every day.  

TBIs are common amongst boxers. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 90% of fighters will suffer a concussion at some point during their career, and approximately one in five professional boxers will experience chronic TBI.

The WBA, formerly known as the National Boxing Association, is the oldest of the four major sanctioning bodies in professional boxing, and it has committed to identifying and implementing more effective management and treatment of mTBI among its athletes. “It is no secret that a boxing match is highlighted by skillful defense and aggressive, sometimes violent, offensive attacks,” said WBA president Gilberto Jesús Mendoza.

“From the beginning, the WBA has known that a number of our members suffer from the short and long-term effects of varying degrees of mTBI associated with their time competing in the ring. We believe in the promise of the resurgence of psychedelic medicine and are proud to be collaborating with Lobe Sciences as we work together to improve the lives and health of members of the WBA family.”

Through this partnership, the WBA and Lobe Sciences also plan to develop a first-of-its-kind protocol to describe the best practices for the early diagnosis and treatment of brain injury to be used post-fight for current boxers. “For the boxers who have retired from active competition, we plan to take a more proactive approach and develop our own symptom tracking and mTBI identification tool to more accurately prioritize appropriate intervention, possibly with the therapeutic regimen being developed by Lobe Sciences,” Mendoza added. 

In May 2021, the World Boxing Council became the first global sports governing body to study the impact of psychedelics on athletes. The council partnered with life sciences company Wesana Health on multi-year research which is investigating how psychedelics may be used to treat TBI. Wesana Health founder, former National Hockey League (NHL) player, and two-time Stanley Cup champion Daniel Carcillo, told the Psychedelic Spotlight podcast earlier this year that the company’s goal is to design, develop, and implement effective diagnostic tools for TBI that can be used on the field right away, starting with youth collision sports.

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