Traumatic Brain Injury Due to Negligence in Boxing Training

This case study examines an incident where an amateur boxer suffered a traumatic brain injury during a sparring match with a professional, due to alleged negligence by the trainer in assessing skill levels and verifying passbooks.

ByExpert Institute


Published on February 6, 2024

Two male boxers sparring

Case Overview

This case study delves into an incident involving an amateur boxer who sustained a traumatic brain injury during a sparring match with a professional boxer. The event took place in a boxing gym.

The trainer allegedly neglected to properly assess the amateur boxer’s skill level and failed to verify both boxers’ passbooks. These passbooks are crucial as they document a boxer’s experience and medical history.

This oversight led to a mismatch between the novice and the professional, resulting in severe injuries for the less experienced participant. There is a central question in this case regarding whether the gym trainer followed standard safety protocols and training guidelines.

Questions to the expert and their responses


Could you elaborate on your professional boxing experience, especially regarding training other boxers?

I have been immersed in combat sports for nearly two decades, with my boxing coaching journey beginning in 2013. My career started as a trainer, then became an assistant head coach under two-time world champion Molly McConnell.

Currently, I am the head boxing coach at American Top Team Portland. I oversee and train a diverse team of amateur and professional boxers.


What factors should a trainer consider when determining if two boxers are fit to spar?

There are several elements to consider before deciding if two boxers are suitable for sparring. Initially, we must evaluate their defensive and offensive skills, conditioning levels, emotional control, and physical self-control during various aspects of training such as partner drills, pad work, and bag work.

Once they’re ready to spar, we consider their experience levels, weight differences, and mindsets. It’s essential that neither boxer has a significant advantage over the other in terms of weight or experience.


How can a trainer ensure safety when boxers of different skill sets spar?

Safety during sparring sessions requires clear communication. The coach should articulate their expectations regarding the power and intensity of the rounds, and both boxers must agree to these terms. Additionally, all equipment should be inspected for appropriate size, weight, and quality before use.

About the expert

This expert has a comprehensive background in boxing and various martial arts, with over 15 years of experience in disciplines such as freestyle wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and Dutch kickboxing. They are a certified USA boxing coach and an alumnus of the Combat Sports Academy coaches clinic, having trained MMA fighters, boxers, law enforcement officers, and individuals seeking to learn. Currently, they own and operate a boxing club in Oregon and serve as the head boxing coach at two other academies in the same region.

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