The Trials and Tribulations of Muay Thai: How to Treat and Prevent 6 Common Injuries
Muay Thai is one of the most popular combat sports in Thailand. It’s popularity has grown considerably since its inception in the 1970s when it was only practiced by a few well-to-do Thais.
Today, it’s become part of everyday life for many Thais.
Unfortunately, there are some myths surrounding the sport that prevent people from being able to enjoy it properly. These include the following:
It causes long term damage to joints and muscles; It causes permanent brain damage; It leads to cancer or other diseases; It’s dangerous if done too much; and It doesn’t promote good health habits like regular exercise.
These are all myths, but they’re very prevalent. So let’s dispel them once and for all!
Myth #1 – Muay Thai is Dangerous
In fact, Muay Thai is safer than boxing. There have been no deaths caused by Muay Thai in Thailand since the early days of the sport.
Even today, there hasn’t been a single death due to Muay Thai in Thailand (at least not officially). In comparison, a few boxers have died from injuries received during boxing matches in Thailand, the most famous case being that of Samart Payakaroon (a Thai boxing legend and Olympic Gold Medalist).
In modern times, safety is also a concern for fighters and promoters. Unlike 20 or 30 years ago, there are much more stringent rules in place to prevent serious injury.
Gone are the days when they only checked to see if your were still conscious before letting you continue. Now, there are much more rigorous rules in place that greatly reduce the chance of a serious injury or death.
Safety is also important for the spectators. Spectators are not allowed to enter the ring area under any circumstances as they previously did during some matches.
They’re also not allowed to throw anything onto the ring, or even step onto the lowest level of the ring, for their own safety.
In short, the precautions and rules in place ensure that a Muay Thai match is one of the safest contact sports around. Of course, as with anything, there’s always the possibility of an accident or injury.
But if you’re going to get into a dangerous contact sport, then Muay Thai is certainly one of the best choices you can make.
Myth #2 – You’ll Get Brain Damage
If you watch a lot of fights, you might have heard some people say that Muay Thai is bad for your brain. People often say that getting hit in the head too much can cause damage to the brain or result in symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Are they right?
Well… it’s complicated. The short answer is that repeated damage to the brain can cause lasting damage and affect the way your brain works. But it’s also true that ANY kind of trauma or injury to the brain, even a minor one, could have a similar affect.
It’s like getting sunburnt. You can get a mild sunburn and feel fine for years, then develop skin cancer later on in life.
It’s the sunburn that caused it, not the initial feeling of pain from your skin burning.
So how does repeated head trauma cause lasting damage?
The brain is a delicate organ. It doesn’t have pain receptors so you can’t feel it being damaged in the same way you’d feel a broken bone for example. But if you get trauma to that area, small blood vessels can burst or bleed, causing damage. The brain can also twist and tear at a microscopic level, which can have lasting effects over time.
Does this actually happen in real life?
Studies have shown that repeated trauma to the head from things like sports or fighting does increase your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s and other diseases related to brain damage. But let’s be honest, you’re not going to develop symptoms like that in the next few years! It takes years of damage for these diseases to develop.
Even so, there are steps you can take to slow the process down and even improve your chances of avoiding such diseases completely.
The very best way to protect yourself is to wear head gear. But many fighters (and others involved in contact sports) refuse to wear it as they say it restricts their vision and their ability to fight properly.
The next best thing is to get yourself checked out by a doctor before and after every fight. Explain your line of work to them and ask them to specifically look for signs of brain damage or bleeding.
This may not seem like it would help, but your doctor should be able to notice even minor changes during check ups that might be a sign of long-term damage. They may also be able to refer you to a specialist who can treat you for such issues if necessary.
The final thing you can do is be careful and pay attention to the way your body feels after a fight.
Does one of your arms feel weak or numb? Does your vision seem a little blurred?
As strange as it sounds, even these minor issues can be a sign that you’re suffering the long-term effects of head trauma.
Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. So try to look after yourself and protect your brain!
Page written by BritishGuy.
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