Head Injury Prevention in Ice Skating


Physical activity is an essential part of being healthy. In children, activity helps build strong bones and muscles, decreases the likelihood of developing obesity, and promotes positive mental health. Children are recommended to have 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily.

In the United States, more than 30 million children and teens participate in sports. Of that number, approximately 3.5 million children and adolescents ages fourteen and under are hurt annually while participating in recreational activities. In 2002, The National Safe Kids Campaign estimated that 13,700 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for ice skating related injuries. Many of these are preventable head injuries if protective equipment, such as helmets or halos, is used.

Gliding across the ice, with the cool wind whipping across a skater’s face is an exhilarating feeling. One push can propel a skater far down the glistening, snowy surface. Worrying about a head injury is often far from a skater’s mind, as many participants are not aware of the possibility of head injury from ice skating. The goals of this article are to raise awareness about potential head injury from ice skating and to promote the use of helmets in skating, similar to what is required in cycling, skiing, and ice hockey.

Review of Injury Statistics

A concussion is a mild form of head injury, usually due to a blow to the head, which may cause disorientation, memory loss, or unconsciousness. Repeated concussions and loss of consciousness can result in traumatic brain injury or TBI.

An estimated 10% of all head and spinal cord injuries are due to sports related activities. Socially, athletes can feel undue pressure from family, coaches, and teammates to return to play quickly after a head injury. These influences can prevent an athlete from receiving the medical care he or she requires. In particular, parents and coaches can push their children too hard in an attempt to fulfill their own athletic aspirations. Athletes who return to play too soon or who suffer repeated injury to the head can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, whose symptoms can include slowed speech, confusion, tremors, and mental deterioration. Most recently, CTE gained media attention when a settlement was reached with the National Football League, or NFL and thousands of players and families. The case, which involved more than 4,500 plaintiffs, calls for the NFL to pay for medical exams, compensation, and research related to head injuries sustained while playing professional football. Plaintiffs are committed to making the game safer at all levels and to educate the public; including parents of the four million children who play youth and high school football. Plaintiffs are committed to helping the focus on player safety trickle down to the youth level.

Awareness and education are key factors in injury prevention and return to play decisions. When an athlete suffers a head injury, a sideline assessment using the Standardized Assessment of Concussion should be completed by a medical professional. If a physician is not available, the coach can complete a basic assessment, until medical attention is available. The assessment includes tests of eye response, verbal response, and motor response. Telling a child to «shake it off» could have a grave impact on the child’s long term health.

Research concluded that safety measures in organized sports should include helmet requirements. There are approximately 230,000 cases of hospitalization due to traumatic brain injury annually of which 80,000 suffer long term disability and 50,000 result in fatalities. Five to twenty percent of these injuries are incurred during sports and recreational activities. Organized team sports, in particular football, soccer and ice hockey, have high instances of concussion annually in addition to recreational sports such as skating and bicycling. Helmets that are properly fitted and worn by participants of these activities can help reduce the risk of head injury among participants.

Sports and Helmet Rules


In March 2003, professional cyclist Andrey Kivilev collided with two other riders during the Paris Nice ride. Kivilev was not wearing a helmet and catapulted head first off his bicycle. He fell immediately into a coma and was diagnosed with a serious skull fracture. Kivilev underwent surgery, but died shortly thereafter due to the severity of the head injury. He was 29 years old and the leader of the Cofidis cycling team. His death triggered the International Cycling Union, or UCI to implement compulsory wearing of helmets in all endorsed races.

Helmets protect the head by reducing the rate at which the skull and the brain are accelerated and decelerated during an impact effectively acting as a shock absorber between the force of the impact and the brain. Upon impact, the polystyrene liner of the helmet crushes thereby dissipating energy over a wider area. Instituting mandatory helmet policies in sports proves to be a divisive and controversial issue. Although research has demonstrated that helmets reduce injury in low speed crashes, helmet evidence is not conclusive with respect to high speed crashes. Kivilev’s accident occurred at approximately 35 kilometers per hour or about 22 miles per hour which is considered relatively low speed. At the time, he was ranked among the top 100 racers in the world.

Due to his high profile in the global cycling community, Kivilev’s death elevated the helmet debate into the media spotlight. Following this seminal UCI rule change, USA Cycling also revised their helmet policy to provide that in order to host an event sanctioned by USA Cycling, all participants are required to wear helmets.

In recreational cycling in the United States, bicycle helmet laws can vary widely. Currently, only twenty one states and the District of Columbia have instituted helmet laws for bicyclists below a certain age, which is generally 16 years-old. California requires helmets for riders 18 years and younger and only the Virgin Islands requires helmets for all riders. Twenty nine states have no bicycle helmet laws currently in place.

Researchers conducted a study which demonstrates helmet usage. This study directly observed 841 children in Texas who participated in bicycle riding, in line skating, skateboarding, and scooter riding over an eight week period. Whereas helmet rules vary county to county within Texas, most counties require helmets for riders age 16 years-old and younger. This study employed a randomly selected sample of children engaging in such activities from communities with populations equal to or greater than 1000. Children under 6 years-old, females and those riding on specified bike paths were found to wear helmets more frequently than other children.

Several factors often contribute to children not wearing helmets. During warmer months, children complain about high temperatures and accordingly are less inclined or willing to wear their helmets as riders feel they do not have proper ventilation inside the helmet. Parental knowledge and awareness is another contributing factor. Parents are often unfamiliar with applicable helmet laws nor are they informed of the potential risks of injury resulting from the failure to wear proper safety equipment. In a study examining data from1990 2005, there were in excess of 6,000,000 cases of children age 18 years-old and younger treated in emergency rooms for bicycle related injuries.


In March 2009, actress Natasha Richardson sustained a head injury while taking a routine, beginner ski lesson. Initially she refused medical attention, however seven hours later, she was admitted to the hospital suffering from an epidural hematoma, a type of traumatic brain injury. She succumbed to her injuries and died the following day. Michael Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, died in 1997 following a skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado. A week later, Sonny Bono, television star and politician, died on the slopes of South Lake Tahoe. Richardson, Kennedy, and Bono were not wearing helmets.

Researchers studied injury rates at the three largest ski areas in Scotland during three winter seasons. The study found that first day participants are at an increased risk of injury due in part to low skill levels amongst the beginners. They concluded that first day participants should be targeted in educational programs about gear selection and protective equipment.

A study of skiers and snowboarders was conducted in Colorado where approximately 10 fatalities occur annually. Among the fatally injured, head injury proved the cause of death in 87.5% of the cases and none were wearing helmets. Of the 400 skiers and snowboarders admitted to the hospital with traumatic brain injuries, only five were wearing helmets. In the most serious case, the patient ascended off a 40 foot cliff, landed on his head, cracking his helmet in half. Whereas he sustained a severe concussion with unconsciousness, the computed topography, or CT scan proved negative and with inpatient rehabilitation, the patient has made a full recovery and is attending college.

In 2011, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law requiring all skiers and snowboarders under 18 years to wear helmets with the intent to reduce head injuries on the slopes. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a similar bill in 2010 however the measure was nullified following his veto of a companion bill that would have required California ski resorts to submit safety plans and reports to state officials. At the professional levels, the governing body of skiing, the Federation Internationale de Ski, requires a helmet as mandatory equipment for all downhill and Super G events.

Ice Hockey

In 1968, Bill Masterson of the Minnesota North Stars landed headfirst on the ice after being checked by two players from the Oakland Seals. He was not wearing a helmet and as a direct result died due to the severity of his head injury. Prior to this incident, the helmets use had been stigmatized which contributed to a lack of widespread use. However, as a consequence of this incident, the stigma surrounding the use of helmets began to diminish and ultimately in 1979, the National Hockey League, or NHL instituted a mandatory helmet policy. The policy did not apply uniformly at the outset as certain veteran players were grandfathered out of the new requirement. Such players elected to continue playing without helmets alongside new players who were subject the policy. Initially, the NHL and the players themselves faced harsh criticism from fans and the media. Despite the clear evidence of risks associated without helmets, some believed the policy harmed the integrity of the game and diminished the players’ masculinity.

Since the policy was first instituted more than three decades ago, significant research supporting the value and need for helmets has been documented. The hockey community has become supportive of the rule change particularly as a significant number of current hockey enthusiasts have never experienced the sport in which helmets were not employed and required. As with many elements of professional sports, the helmet policy was then instituted within youth hockey. The youth hockey governing board, USA Hockey, not only requires all players to wear helmets, they have mandated that all helmets employed by the players must be approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council, or HECC. Additionally, beginning in 2006, USA Hockey extended the helmet requirement to coaches who must wear helmets during on ice practice. The requirement for coaches provides the dual benefit of increased safety for all on ice participants as well as an opportunity for the authority figure to model appropriate safety practices. This continues to reinforce the value and importance of the use of safety equipment and in turn minimizes any residual stigma associated with wearing helmets on the ice.

In order to meet the requirements of the HECC, all helmets must undergo rigorous testing procedures including, without limitation, verifying the sufficiency of the coverage area, the quality of the protective material, and the degree of shock absorption. Aside from the specifications, the age, amount of use and type of each helmet all serve to impact the helmet’s effectiveness. The use of helmets with facial protection has proven effective in order to significantly decrease player injury at the amateur level. Whereas ice hockey is by nature a contact sport and checking is a significant cause of injury, the potential for injury is heightened further due to speed and surface tension. A study was conducted a study of 192 high schools in which 7,257 sports related injuries from 20 different sports were reported. From this total sample, 1,056, or 14.6% of injuries were concussions, 24% of which were sustained during boys’ ice hockey.

Ice Skating

In 1999, United Skates Pairs figure skaters, J. Paul Binnebose and Laura Handy were on track to make the 2002 Olympic team. While training at the University of Delaware, with Coach Ron Luddington, Binnebose fell on the ice, fracturing his skull. He suffered seizures, his heart stopped twice, and he was in a coma. Doctors removed a piece of his skull, allowing his brain to swell without pressure and heal. He was given a 10% chance of survival. Against the odds, he recovered.

Although the media widely publicizes celebrity sports related accidents, J. Paul Binnebose was not a well known star around the world. His story did not receive international media attention, but it is well known within the figure skating world. He and his coach have been working toward a helmet rule in skating for over a decade. They contend that many of the skating related injuries could be prevented or minimized with the use of a helmet.

Research suggests this notion is correct. An examination of pediatric skating related injuries was conducted in the years 1993-2003. The researchers sampled 1,235,467 children from emergency rooms with skating related injuries. Non random, purposeful sampling was used in this study. The data was collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, or NEISS, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, known as CPSC.

The NEISS system has consumer product codes for each type of activity. Injuries were identified as ice skating, roller skating, or in line skating related, and coded accordingly. Ice hockey, roller hockey, and skateboarding were excluded from the study. Variables included the child’s gender and age, site of the injury, type of skating activity, mechanism of injury, use of protective equipment, and the injury diagnosis. Further, the injuries were categorized into 5 regions of the body.

The Centers for Disease Control report during the years 2001-2005, more than 200,000 emergency room visits for concussions and other traumatic brain injuries were recorded annually in the United States. Of those, 65% were found to be children ages 5 18 years-old who were participating in a sport or recreational activity. Children are at a greater risk for traumatic brain injuries with increased severity and a prolonged recovery. Thirty categories of sports and recreation head injuries were examined. Most of the sports demonstrated 2 7% annual emergency room visits for concussions and traumatic brain injuries. However, horseback riding, all terrain vehicle riding, and ice skating reported the highest instances of emergency room visits for traumatic brain injuries, with ice skating at 11.4%. Horseback riding and all terrain vehicle riding are activities where a secondary force carries the participant at a potentially high rate of speed; ice skating is a self propelled activity.

Researchers studied 419 children with injuries from ice skating, skateboarding, roller skating, and in line skating with the focus on head injury. Most injuries were to the face; 23 of 60 cases, 38.3%; and 12 additional injuries were to the head; 20%. Adult supervision was reported in 98.2% of the cases, and 78% reported no protective equipment use. The proportion of head injuries among ice skaters was greater than the participants in other types of skating, for which helmet use is recommended or required. Currently, there are no formal guidelines regarding the use of protective equipment in ice skating; however, studies show helmet use should be mandated for children.

A study of 80 patients who visited the Accident Service at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for ice skating related injuries found that 56% were beginner skaters, defined as having skated less than 10 times. Eighty two and a half percent of the patients were 11 to 25 years-old. The study suggests that children who are beginner skaters are more likely to sustain injury than experienced skaters. Other research studies show similar results. In a study of 43 patients admitted to the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital with ice skating related injuries, 65% were first time skaters. The study found need for increased public awareness about the risk of potential injury from ice skating and for preventative measures to improve safety.

Insurance companies strongly urge skating facilities to post a warning potential of risks at the entrance of the buildings, which releases the facilities from general liability. However, people visiting ice skating rinks are not well informed about the potential risks of the activity before arrival. Often they do not read posted placards. If provided with the background knowledge, ahead of their visit to the ice skating rink, many guests would have the opportunity to bring safety equipment from home. A need exists for a public awareness campaign.

Positive Effect of Sports Involvement

An ice skating rink is a place for children to visit on a regular basis, during their out of school time, to engage in positive, fun exercise. The key to helping the child enjoy their experience, and continue to return to the ice skating rink, is to make sure they have a positive first experience. This may not mean becoming an expert skater, but becoming competent on the ice that he/she can have a positive social experience and be «ice safe.» In order for this to happen, the participants must learn to skate with the proper safety equipment, including helmets. Once they learn the skill, he/she will continue to return to the facility with their friends. Having a positive place to go during out of school time will help the children avoid risky behaviors.


Cycling, skiing, and hockey have made changes in their safety guidelines based on the trends and statistics of head injuries in the sport. As the governing body for skating, the International Skating Union, known as the ISU has to take action to require worldwide helmet use for skaters. Once the ISU takes the first step, member countries can incorporate helmet rules into basic training programs and begin a public awareness campaign. Reducing the incidents of head injury will improve the overall safety of the sport. As safety improves, more people will continue participating in the sport of ice skating.

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Uganda Pugilist John "the Matador" Munduga: The Buddy of John "the Beast" Mugabi

Pugilist John Munduga, a Lugbara of northwestern Uganda ancestry was one of the nation’s top boxers during his amateur career of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. He was conspicuous for his lean build and tallness. Though he was in the lower weight classes, he was slightly over 6 feet tall. He has been regarded as one of the most skillful of Ugandan boxers. He would dabble as captain of the Uganda boxing team as he represented Uganda in several regional tournaments. Munduga competed at the summer Olympics that were held in Moscow in 1980, and he was there the national captain. As a professional, he fought in Europe and the United States where he brawled with several famous and top boxers. Munduga had a very high knockout ratio, and he remained undefeated for a relatively long time. He now resides in his native Uganda (in Naguru where he was born) where he is a high school coach and trainer–notably at Kololo High School near Kampala. During 2000, he was the national coach of the Rwanda boxing team.

Munduga was born on January 15th 1961 in Naguru near Kampala in Uganda where he studied at St. Jude Primary School where he played soccer. But he, early in life, became interested in boxing when he hang out at the Naguru Community Center near Kampala. He became a school boxing champion for several years, and then a national junior champion at age 11.

In 1977, Munduga represented Uganda at the annual Kenya vs. Uganda Urafiki Tournament. He won in the fight. He was summoned by national coach Grace Sseruwagi to get into residential training with the novices. Munduga excelled by beating his opponents then he was selected as the youngest on the team of Ugandan boxers to Thailand to fight in the international King’s Cup. Munduga impressively won a bronze medal.

In January 1978, at a Uganda vs. Poland match in Kampala, Munduga defeated Roman Gotfryd after the bout was stopped.

At the All-Africa Games of 1978, held in Algiers, Munduga lost in the second round to Kenyan Steve Muchoki who is renowned to have in the past beaten James Odwori, and having become am amateur world Champion. He tehrefore failed to move into the medal bracket.

Munduga represented Uganda at the Feliks Stamm Memorial Invitational that was held in Warsaw from November 9-11 in 1978. In the quarter-finals, the Ugandan defeated Jose Luis Rios of Cuba by 4:1. In the semi-finals Munduga beat Yuriy Prokhorov of the Soviet Union by 3:2. In the finals Munduga triumphed by beating Leszek Kosedowski (Poland) by 4:1. Here again, he won the gold. Out of the five Ugandan boxers at this venue, only Munduga was victorious.

At the Poland vs. Uganda Dual of February 1979, held in Warsaw, Munduga triumphed over the Pole Kazimierz Adach. Here boxers like Mugabi, Odwori, Butambeki, and Siryakibe were defeated.

Still in February 1979, Munduga was triumphant in the town Schwerin in German Democratic Republic where a dual match was held against Uganda. Munduga here defeated Lutz Kaesebier. Of the other Ugandan boxers, only Adroni Butambeki was triumphant.

Munduga was a 19 year-old when at the 1980 Olympics held in Moscow he was pitted against 25 year-old Nelson Jose Rodriguez of Venezuela in the first preliminary round of the light-welterweight contest. At just 5’5″, Rodriguez was about half a foot shorter than Munduga. The Ugandan triumphed on this July 21st 1980 by winning on points.

Munduga’s next Olympic battle would happen on July 26th, and here in the second preliminary he would box against Farouk Chanchoun Jawad of Iraq. Though much shorter, 25 year-old Chanchoun who was more experienced, would knock out Munduga in the second minute of the first round. The Ugandan claims that he started well, but then was unfairly punched in the neck and fell unconscious. Chanchoun is famously known to have been the Asia champion thrice. Munduga would take the position of 9th overall in the light-welterweight division.

But though Mugabi would win Uganda’s sole medal at the Olympics in Moscow, Munduga clearly stands out as the Uganda amateur pugilist that triumphed most for Uganda during the late 1970’s. He comes to mind as a very hardworking, skillful, dedicated and disciplined during a time when Uganda’s significance in boxing was quickly slipping down.

The World Boxing Council (WBC) rankings of July 24th 1987 ranked two Ugandan «Johns,» who had also represented Uganda at the Olympics, as among the top ten contenders for the world Super welterweight crown. Lupe Aquino of Mexico was the champion, John «the Beast» Mugabi was the top contender, while John Munduga was ranked as the sixth top contender. Apart from theoretically being rivals for the crown, the two were probably sparring partners given that they were both managed by Mickey Duff in Tampa in Florida. Mugabi, as a welterweight had won Uganda’s only medal haul at the Moscow Olympics–a silver in the welterweight division. On the world professional scene, Munduga would get to be nicknamed, «the Matador.» Munduga would talk of his boyhood friend Mugabi as one who «had a big punch early… at 9, 10 years, he used to knock boys out… was the only one that age who could» (Berger 1986).

Munduga started boxing as a professional in Germany, in November 1981, where he fought the first fourteen of his professional fights. Here he fought a cross-section of boxers from near and far, and he established an 85% record in these fights from 1981 to early 1984.

Thereafter he started competing in the United States whereby his first battle here was with Tommy Rogers in Tampa. He knocked out Rogers, then continued with his typical trend of knocking out most of his opponents up to when he battled Leland Hart whom he beat by points in Atlantic City in May 1986. At this stage, Munduga had a clean and imposing record of 24 wins, 0 losses, with 18 knockouts.

The next fight would be a scheduled 10-rounder with renowned American Mark Breland, a very 6’2.5″ welterweight who had won Olympic gold at the Olympics held in Los Angeles in 1984. He was two inches taller than Munduga. A very popular figure, 23 year-old Breland dabbled as an actor, and he had a very impressive streak as USA amateur champion. On June 21st 1986, Breland was pitted against the Ugandan. This happened at the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City in New Jersey. Munduga was then ranked as ninth on the list of contenders for the welterweight crown, by the World Boxing Association (WBA), and sixth on the list of junior middle-weight contenders, by the WBC.

Munduga believed that it would be advantageous for him to land punches on Breland because the two were about equal in height. Munduga added that Breland had never fought an opponent as skillful as himself and he added that this was a big fight for which he had trained hard for. Breland, stating that he had fought many tall fighters during his amateur days, most of whom he had stopped, opined that it was tougher to fight short boxers. He had to bend lower to fight them, and bend even lower when they duck. Breland also regarded Munduga as the typical European fighter who would not be much of a problem, one who stands erect and comes right at you. According to Breland, Munduga had a good jab and looping right, but he was not much of a good puncher. Breland fought his first professional fight, only two months after he had won the gold medal at the Olympics in Los Angeles. He was touted to be «the next Sugar Ray Leonard,» an image that he would eventually not measure up to.

The first round revealed that both were right-handed, conventional style boxers. The taller and longer-armed Breland used these too his advantage of keeping Munduga at bay with these advantages though Munduga keeps attacking. In the first round the two were mainly feeling each other out for the pattern, the round was roughly even, but Breland uses the arm advantage to win.

In the second round, Munduga is rocked with a hard punch in the first few seconds, and he stumbles. Breland is very aware of it and he gradually moves in to attempt a knockout punch. Munduga has slowed down and he is indeed slightly hurt. But Munduga keeps attacking while the opponent’s typical reach keeps him away from scoring much. Breland’s height, slenderness, stance, and rocking blows remind one of a younger Thomas «Hitman» Hearns.

In round three, Bill Cosby, Muhammad Ali, Don King, and Jesse Jackson are seen in the high capacity 15000-audience that has come to see an Olympic celebrity box. At this time Breland was undefeated in 12 fights, but his knockout ratio was far less spectacular than that of Munduga. In this third round, Munduga is perplexed as to what tactics to use, but he courageously keeps going after Breland though he keeps running into the long-range punches of Breland.

In the fourth round Munduga becomes much more aggressive, but he is getting tired. However, Breland is apparently more fresh and gradual, like he is waiting for the chance to deliver the onslaught. Still, in this fourth round, Munduga delivers his best punches of the round, and they seem to slightly rock Breland off balance.

In the fifth round, Munduga displays more courage and confidence. He even rocks Breland when he is against the ropes, and he goes on to speed up on the attacking.

In the sixth round, the slugger Munduga is again the aggressive one and he keeps attacking Breland as he hopes to get through the opponent’s longer arms. Breland displays patience but awareness of his opponents rising confidence. He seems to wait for Munduga to become reckless and careless and leave his head open to blows. Indeed the moment comes in the sixth round. As Munduga further delivers powerful blows, Breland takes the upper hand and delivers solid killer uppercut and right-left-right bows to Munduga’s head that knock him down senseless on his back. The medical team quickly moves into the ring to attend to Munduga whose left eye is quickly closing up. The fight is decisively over; the referee Paul Venti did not bother to count him out. Munduga was hereby defeated for the first time in his boxing career. The boxing world mostly remembers Munduga because of this fight in which he displayed courage and skill against a famed and seasoned boxer.

Confident and victorious Breland remarked after the fight (AP 1986: 32).

«His plan was to come forward, hit and get hit. I knew he was a good puncher, but I punch pretty good too. His game plan was taken away and you can’t adjust in the ring unless you are real smart.»

Five weeks before the fight with Munduga, just after he had knocked out Ricky Avendano in the first minute of the first round, Breland was asked about how he rated himself, and he replied (AP 1986: 19).

«I really don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t want to be rushed into a title fight. Maybe a year or a year and a half from now. I want everything to be perfect.»

Between 1987 and 1990, Mark Breland became WBA welterweight champion, then he lost the title to Marlon Starling, then regained it, then lost it to Aaron Davis. Breland retired from the ring with an impressive 39 victories, 3 losses, and 1 draw.

Munduga’s head had been clobbered badly by Breland, he collapsed heavily to the floor. This fight, which is the most attached to Munduga, had virtually desrepaired and destroyed him. It took Munduga nearly six months to contest again. he admits that after this fight he was damaged, no longer himself, and he somewhat lost interest in boxing. In comparison, Uganda’s Mustapha Wasajja was never the same again after he ws knocked out by Michael Spinks; John «the Beast Mugabi» was never the same again when he was knocked out by Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

Next, in Las Vegas, he won in a mediocre fight with Alvaro Granillo in December 1986. His very last major fight was with undefeated Darrin «Schoolboy» Van Horn who was a student at the University of Kentucky, and a future International Boxing Federation (IBF) world champion. In Frankfort in Kentucky, more than a year since Munduga had performed in the ring, Van Horn knocked out Munduga in the seventh of a scheduled 10-rounder in February 1988.

Munduga fought his last three professional fights in Germany and Belgium, and he lost all of them by knockout to unheralded fighters. His last recorded fight is of November 1989. He had lost his luster. Munduga is recorded as having won in 25 fights in which 18 were by knockout. However in all the five fights that he lost, he was knocked out in each of them. Many had expected so much more from this formerly high-ranked boxer.

Between 1987 and 1990, Mark Breland became WBA welterweight champion, then he lost the title to Marlon Starling, then regained it, then lost it to Aaron Davis. Breland retired from the ring with an impressive 39 victories, 3 losses, and 1 draw.

Works Cited

AP. «Breland Wins 12th Welterweight Bout.» The Index Journal. May 16 1986.

AP. «Breland Floors Munduga in Sixth.» The Index Journal. June 22 1986.

Berger, Phil. «Mugabi: At Boxing’s Front Door.» New York Times. March 2 1986.

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Specializing at a Young Age Will Stunt Your Growth, Not Improve It

According to USA Hockey, colleges and universities all across the nation are recruiting talented and skilled ice hockey players before they are even starting high school.  Verbal commitments are being made between prospects and perennial powerhouses like University of Wisconsin.  Talented players who do not want to take the college route are opting for the major junior system in Canada and then going pro at the young age of 18 or 19.  There is an increasing number of very young players in the National Hockey League, with a handful of them being made captain of their professional squads like Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby.  The emergence of young athletes assuming key roles in the elite circles of Division 1 and professional sports makes it appear to younger players that specializing is the way to go.  Ice Hockey is not the only sport identifying talent at unusually young ages.  Major football universities are finding players just beginning high school.  A lot can be said about the physical and mental development of an athlete in high school and college.  Schools like Yale University will not consider a young recruit for their varsity sports because they realize how much can change mentally for a teenager between the ages of 14 and 18.  For them, academic integrity is as important as athletic performance.  Therefore, making a guarantee four years early is not appealing to them.  They want to see where that candidate will be down the road before they make any commitments.  What happened to waiting around and shopping for the best?  We don’t elect Presidents 4 years before they are to take the oath, why should we choose what jersey an athlete will wear before they get there?  If you keep the competition to play close to the actual time they will be doing so, the road to get there will be more about the process and development.

Ten years ago, it was thought that athletes needed more time to develop and gain the competitive edge.  In ice hockey, post graduate programs (PG years) at prep schools and junior teams were common staples to get noticed by competitive college hockey programs.  It was thought that in order to have the edge, you needed the time to develop physically and mentally as well as gain the experience of playing with other like-minded athletes.  When you knew you had a long road ahead of you to make the college and professional ranks, specializing in your sport at 12 was not the smartest thing.  Parents, coaches, and experts worried that applying too much pressure at a young age to perform and excel would cause players to burn out prematurely.

Performance development coaches like myself believe that while players should focus primarily on two sports, that their programs should incorporate skills and abilities required to perform well in as many as 10 other sports or activities.  Even if you do not play baseball, ice hockey players who have the ability to go to a batting cage and hit a high percentage of the pitches.  Hockey players who can play baseball well will have better reaction times on the ice and will be better able to react to pucks in flight from a high shot or at fielding a bad pass.  Likewise, playing soccer is great developmentally for a budding ice hockey player because a lot of very skilled players are very good at carrying and handling the puck with their feet.  Whether your main sport is baseball or ice hockey, you can learn a lot from playing other sports like tennis, soccer, football, etc.

The spectrum is vast regarding what parents think their children should do.  Some want their children to be like Sidney Crosby and will force them to specialize at 8 years old and others want their kids to just have fun and will them do anything they want for however long they want.  Both approaches are bad.  Specializing or being aloof is bad.  The key is to keep the intensity, attention, encouragement, and vigor high with the expectation and pressure low.  Young athletes should be taught discipline, passion, a love for training and the sport, and heart.  The road to intercollegiate and professional sports is long.  The people who make it and stay there are the ones who love the unglamorous aspects, the long road trips, the sweat, the low pay (the pay for most professional athletes is not like ARod), the unforgiving schedule, and the inherent uncertainty that comes from a profession that is so fluid – where one day the best team wants you and the day the other team that will look at you is the farm club of the worst team.

Success comes from a love in what you do, whatever it is.  The day it becomes work is the day you know it might be time to consider a new path.  Athletes who play for the glory will be in store for a rude awakening.  The athletes who can weather adversity and overcome it through hard work and staying focused are the ones you know really love what they do.  The turnaround for the Tampa Bay Rays Baseball team shows outstanding determination, will, and passion for improving and bettering themselves.  They did not worry about playing as well as the perennial powerhouse teams like the Boston Red Sox.  They played the game the way they knew best and defined their run to the World Series their way and on their terms.  The way they went from the worst team in professional major league baseball to the World Series runner-up is an example of how individual athletes should approach their development.  You cannot go out there and just be in it for the win.  Unfortunately, the raw desire is not enough to get you there.  You need to be willing and able to put in the unappreciated and under valued hard work.  By doing so, you put yourself in a better position to start doing well.

As a sports development coach, I am useless to the person who just wants to play in a recreational league and get the fanfare when they score.  When someone is ready to work hard, put in long hours, and sweat – I am the perfect person for them.  I will help them get to where they want.  What I do has no glamour, other than the satisfaction in myself, knowing that I had a role in helping an athlete demonstrate their capabilities to an audience.  I do what I do because I have a love and passion for sports.  

The key to professional bliss is to specialize in a commitment to working hard.  Whatever else you do to get ahead will come after.  Do not worry about what nods you are getting at 14 to play college sports.  Keep your head down and stay focused on getting better.  A lot can happen in high school.  If you keep your options open at 14, you will have more to fall back on when you are 18.

If you specialize at 14 in football and it does not work out for you, there will be nothing else for you to fall back on.  If you play several sports and perform well in a couple of them, if one doesn’t lead to a paycheck or fame, maybe the other will.  The more options you have the less pressure you will feel on you to excel on at one, thereby making it more enjoyable.  Nobody wants to think that everything hinges on how you do in one thing.

Keep your options open and have fun, but remember you will not improve without putting in hard work.  So decide what your priorities are and then go from there.  If you don’t want to sweat or do the necessary things to improve your game, then don’t expect to play at the next level.  There is nothing wrong with playing pick-up games.  You have to be honest with yourself regarding your skill level and desire to put in the time required to make it.  Sidney Crosby, Eli Manning, Tom, Brady, Michael Jordan, and like company did not get to where they did just by coasting through life.  They assessed their abilities and accordingly set their mind on where they wanted to go.  Once they did that, they worked tirelessly to make sure they got there.  That due diligence is why they all became standouts in the professional arena.

The key thing to take away from this article is that you need more determination than skill.  And more importantly, you need more love than determination.  Therefore, you need more love than skill.  If you do not enjoy what you do, it will not matter how much skill you have because you will not want to do it anymore.  Being focused is different than specializing.  Play a lot of sports.  Stay active in many different things.  Do it because you love it.  You can decide later which one will let you do it in college or professionally.  You will benefit more from playing other sports and training for those sports than you will spending all that time training for one sport.  My program is so effective because despite your focus, I expose you to movements and drills common to other activities, thereby making you a more complete and well rounded athlete.

Stay tuned for more articles by DSWAthletes, owned and managed by Derrick Wong.  We write about all things sports.  We want to help you get to wherever you want to go and enjoy both the process and the outcome.  We will help you stay focused and in great shape.

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Ayub Kalule: The Road to The Fight With "Sugar" Ray Charles Leonard

Ayub Kalule, born in January 1954, is unanimously regarded as the gem of Uganda boxers. Among his significant amateur accolades are the Africa (Kampala), Commonwealth Games (Christchurch), and World Championship (Havana) victories all achieved in 1974. Kalule was crowned Africa Sportsman of the Year for 1974.

Kalule whose father was a Kampala butcher, was an excellent soccer player and sprinter when he was a schoolboy. But he soon came across and was intrigued by an article on Muhammad Ali. The impetus to box was also provided by his older brother Zaid who was a good amateur boxer. Kalule trained and practiced with his brother. Though Kalule is right-handed, he largely took on the boxing stance of Zaid who was a southpaw. Kalule would develop a good jab and hook.

While on a Uganda boxing team tour in Scandinavia, early in 1976, Kalule met Danish promoter Mogens Palle who offered to place him in the professional ranks. Within a month, Kalule left Uganda for Denmark, together with his wife Ziyada, daughters Marian and Zajida. Offspring later born, in Denmark included daughter Dauswa and son Sadat. Pressure had been placed on Kalule to remain in the amateur ranks, but his outstanding boxing success, the prospects of lucrative paychecks abroad, and the deteriorating political and economic climate during those years of the Idi Amin military regime, encouraged many Uganda boxers to leave for Europe. Some of the other pugilists who left Uganda in the 1970’s to box in Europe include Vitalish Bbege, Shadrach Odhiambo, Mustapha Wasajja, Cornelius Bbosa-Edwards, and Joseph Nsubuga. But it was also an era in which the numbers of Africans entering the professional realm was accelerating. Many Kenyan and Nigerian boxing champions also migrated for the lucrative fighting opportunities.

Kalule debuted as a professional pugilist in April 1976 in Copenhagen. Contrary to popular belief, he was not part of the Uganda team that was selected for the consequently boycotted Olympics in Montreal (July 18- 31, 1976). The Uganda team for Montreal included John Baker Muwanga (bantamweight), Venostos Ochira (light-flyweight), Adroni Butambeki (flyweight), Cornelius Boza-Edwards (featherweight), David Ssenyonjo (lightweight), Jones Okoth (light-welterweight), Vitalish Bbege (welterweight), and John Odhiambo (light-middleweight). And though listed, Boza-Edwards (future professional world champion) had already migrated to England and even represented England in at least three dual tournaments in early 1976. They were against Ireland, Denmark, and USA, and Boza-Edwards won in all of them.

In November 1977, Kalule became the leading contender for the World boxing Association (WBA). However, it would be nearly a full two years later, even after suing and legal action by Kalule’s management, that Kalule would be given a chance at the title. Mogens Palle would spend $20000 on traveling and pressing the WBA to maintain Kalule as number one contender and give him a shot at the title. The WBA was recognized as an extravagant, carefree, and flashy «fraternal club of Latin Americans» manned principally by Panamanians who had lucrative ties with apartheid South Africa and the Far East. The WBA sanctioned ridiculous title bouts, while blocking boxers that were far highly ranked. Mogens Palle would charge:

«These WBA people are all liars. Unless you send them mail that is registered, they claim they never receive it. You ask… for the rules, and they say they’ll send them, but… never do. You ask for justice… they say be patient… They don’t want anyone to have the rules, so no one will know when they are breaking them. When only the top people have the rules, they can play any game they want.» (Putman 1981)

Kalule became the Commonwealth middleweight champion when he knocked out Al Korovou of Fiji in May 1978 in Copenhagen. His biggest crown was his win over the Japanese Masashi Kudo whom he defeated in Tokyo, in October 1979, for the WBA junior-middleweight belt. His shot at the world title, for which he had been the foremost contender for more than a year, had for long been overdue. Kalule successfully defended his title four times, all the bouts in Denmark. At this time, apart from that one time in Tokyo, Kalule had never fought professionally outside Denmark. Kalule had, after tennis star Bjorn Borge, become the next renowned sports celebrity in Denmark.

The boxing world was quite divided as to who would win in the bout between 24 year-old «Sugar» Ray Charles Leonard and undefeated 27 year- old Kalule. Leonard had watched tapes of Kalule boxing and he said that he was, «quite impressed with Kalule’s constant attack; he fights with determination.» (AP 1981: 9)

Kalule’s strength lay in his being ambidextrous, in his strength, in his hard body, and in his stamina which were major factors in his wearing down opponents. But Kalule was more of a body-banger than a head-hunter. Though undefeated, Kalule’s knockout record was not excellent. Kalule had knocked out 18 of his opponents in his 36 professional bouts. And though impressed with aspects of Kalule, 5’10» Ray Leonard regarded 5’9″ Kalule as merely an advanced amateur fighter who in the ring stands straight-up in typical European style and goes directly to his opponent. And according to Leonard, Kalule was not fast enough in the ring. Though Kalule respected Leonard’s skills and status, Kalule was disappointed that popular Leonard was being treated as a Muhammad Ali, while he himself was being treated as the mediocre opponent and underdog.

While Leonard acknowledged that Kalule was a fit and well conditioned boxer who would be difficult to beat, the American predicted that he would end the fight within 10 rounds. On the other hand, renowned trainer Bob Arum was apparently Kalule’s biggest booster. He remarked, I expect it to go 15 tough rounds and I expect people to be standing at the end waiting to hear who won, and that winner being Kalule» (UPI 1981: 13). Kalule who had never been knocked down in a professional bout was adamant that Leonard had never faced an opponent like him, and that he would take his title back to Denmark. Kalule trained for much longer hours in the gym than did Leonard. Kalule’s trainer Borge Krogh, and his masseur Tage Nielsen were confident about their Ugandan fighter. Leonard, the World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion would be attempting, in the quest for Kalule’s title, to become boxing’s only current dual title-holder. Impressive Leonard had only lost one fight in his professional career–a loss to legendary Roberto Duran of Panama.

In December 1979, in Denmark, 25 year-old Kalule defended his newly acquired WBA junior-middleweight title against American Steve Gregory who happened to be ranked third in the world. Gregory was also a sparring partner of Ray Leonard, both under renowned coach Angelo Dundee who was in Gregory’s corner during the fight with Kalule. Some suggested that Gregory was deliberately matched and sent over to Denmark as a test for the possible future Kalule vs. Leonard bout. Though Gregory was undefeated and highly ranked, he had not been as tested in the ring with tough opponents–he was the underdog.

Kalule outclassed and would out-point Gregory, whose hand became injured in the first round and who spent most of the time back-pedaling or hanging against the ropes, by a wide margin. The winner would take home an impressive $80000, and the loser grossed $40000. The world championship bout with Leonard, which was broadcast on short- circuit television, took place at Astrodome in Houston, amidst a crowd of between 25000 and 30000, on 25 June 1981. Leonard was guaranteed gross earnings of at least $2.5 million; while Kalule was guaranteed at least $150000. This would be Kalule’s greatest fight. Surprisingly, Leonard was in the first and second round the attacker of the solidly built Kalule. Leonard was the faster and more agile of the two boxers. This enabled him to hit Kalule as the champion struggled to figure Leonard out. Leonard’s compact jab convincingly penetrated Kalule’s defenses. The third round differed. Later on it would be revealed that a left hook delivery to Kalule’s head had resulted in the bruising of Leonard’s middle finger. The handicap would became permanent. Though the injury was troubling, Leonard valiantly attacked Kalule in round four, even dazing him a couple of times. Finishing Kalule off still remained hard, as Leonard seemed to ran into a brick wall each time he tried to subdue Kalule. The powerful exchange demonstrated just how unyielding and sturdy Kalule was.

Into round five, Kalule would establish control, mostly with his right hand. In round seven Kalule delivered a right to the challenger’s head. The blow knocked the Leonard off-balance. The challenger did recover, but Kalule gained confidence. Kalule exerted more toughness in the eighth round; Leonard was tiring and Kalule was establishing the upper hand. The ninth round was interesting. The pugilists looked exhausted but determined. The non-stop and no-holding exchange that had continued from the beginning of the bout did not show signs of waning.

Sturdy Kalule went on absorbing the challenger’s faster and more accurate punches in exchange for champion’s bruising, ambidextrous, and unpredictable blows. However the challenger did seem to sense that given the formidability of Kalule, the best solution would be for him to take the risk of delivering a quick flurry of combinations that would potentially disable Kalule. Leonard seemingly sensed that strong Kalule was also getting tired and slowing down. Near the end of round 9, Leonard delivered a series of hard combinations that seemingly confused the champion. A flash right hand knocked Kalule to the ground into a sitting position. He did not seem to be unduly hurt. He got up at the count of six, and backed up to the ropes of the neutral corner to further recover. The referee looked into Kalule’s face as he continued to count. Though Kalule stood up straight, the referee might not have been convinced that Kalule was ready to continue fighting. Kalule, who had heretofore never been knocked down and was probably temporarily at loss about how to react, did not raise his gloves to his face and step forward from the ropes to indicate as is the tradition, that he was ready to continue. The referee waved off the fight! Kalule appeared to be stunned by the stoppage, he shrugged his shoulders and arms in a protesting stance.

Most spectators probably opined that the fight was stopped prematurely, especially given that it was a global championship bought and given that Kalule was conscious enough to continue. Also, before the referee stopped counting, the ninth round had ended… but the bell was not rang. Ultimately, the fight was ruled as having been stopped at 3 minutes and 6 seconds of the ninth round. Kalule had hence been entitled to a minute-long stool corner interval, before moving on to the tenth round. Was the stoppage deliberate or otherwise a case of language miscommunication between Kalule and the Panamanian Spanish-speaking referee Carlos Berrocal who was also an assigned judge in the fight? Also one of the two-ringside judges was a Panamanian (Harmodio Cedeno), the other one was a Puerto Rican (Ismael Wiso Fernandez). And this was USA territory, popular Sugar Ray Leonard was a golden Olympian, one regarded as Muhammad Ali’s successor in terms of speed, skill, antics, and looks. Before the fight was stopped, the referees had scored Leonard as ahead by a couple of points: Berrocal (78-76), Cedeno (78-76), Fernandez (78-75).

Would Leonard have defeated Kalule if the fight had been allowed to continue? Probably. But though Kalule’s side was partly disappointed about the seemingly pre-mature stoppage of the fight, they were graceful about it and even conceded defeat. Kalule had planned to mount a full attack on Leonard after the ninth round, but then the knockdown had derailed the plan. Kalule, with his reserve of stamina was accustomed to fighting full bouts to the end. This was a 15-round title fight. Kalule conceded that Leonard was physically stronger than he had expected, Leonard admitted that Kalule was one of the best fighters that he had encountered. At this point only Roberto Duran of Panama had blemished Leonard’s record. Leonard would later in the year, in September 1981, defeat fellow American Thomas Hearns and be crowned USA Boxer of the Year. The fight with Kalule was regarded as a build-up for the fight against Hearns. A photo of Ayub Kalule fighting Ray Leonard graced the cover of «Sports Illustrated» of 6 July 1981.

After the fight with Leonard, Kalule would continue to fight at an average of three bouts a year–mostly in Denmark. He failed to recover the WBA junior middleweight title when he was knocked out in the tenth round by American Davey Moore in the middle of July 1982 in New Jersey. In November also in Atlantic City, in a non-title bout with Jamaican legend Mike McCallum, Kalule retired in the seventh round. In July 1985, in Copenhagen, Kalule won the vacant European Boxing Union (EBU) middleweight title when he knocked out Pierre Joly from Martinique. In December Kalule successfully defended his EBU title with a split decision win over legendary Sumbu Kalambay from Congo. In September 1986, in Sheffield, the Ugandan lost the title to Herol Graham when he was knocked out in the tenth round. This spelled the end of Kalule’s professional boxing career in which he impressively won 46 fights (23 knockouts), lost 4 (all by knockout), and drew none. He now lives in Uganda.

Works Cited

AP, «Sugar Ray Calls Foe ‘Advanced Amateur’.» Milwaukee Sentinel, (23 June, 1981).

Putman, Pat. «Fighting the Rulers of the WBA.» Sports Vault Illustrated (23 March 1981).

UPI. «Leonard, Hearns Fight Tonight.» Logansport Pharos-Tribune (25 June, 1981).

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Pro Evolution Soccer 6: FC JSV VS Man Utd Entrance

This is my ownmade team entrance against Man UTD
for the final of the Konami Cup
i made the whole team myself tenues and even some players
also i made myself in the team,….

the match was won by my with 3-0
with Goals from
– Afonso Alves
– Afellay
– Robben

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Canada’s Passion for the Game

Canada is a vast sparse country larger than the United States but with an approximate population of California. They are a peaceful nation and an active participant in the United Nations as peacekeepers.

Canada has always been somewhat inferior to its bigger cousin. It gets somewhat monotonous hearing the USA chirp about their many achievements. Living so close to the international border, most Canadians view enough foreign television about the American dream. It is enough to make most Canadian a bit tired of all the fuss. In fact, many Canadians smirk when Americans get themselves into a little hot water.

It is no wonder that Canada keeps sacred some homegrown sports in which they have more often than not dominated. Ice hockey is Canada’s game. Canadians hold firm the belief that its babies are born with skates. Ouch!

It is hard to refute that Canadians have a passion for their game, which rivals that of Europeans and South Americans for soccer. I mean football! Canadians eat, sleep and play hockey. They play the game 12 months of the year. Their American cousins have tried and at times succeeded in holding the mantle. The Russians have also had runs at supremacy. But, arguably, Canada is the world power of hockey in men’s and women’s hockey.

It is no wonder that any finish short of gold in any Olympics is a failure. This is a heavy load on the shoulders of all those that wear the red and black Canadian jersey. They are expected to win. Period.

Canadians, at any given time, can field 2 or 3 teams that could dominate most other international teams. On paper they cannot lose. But games need to be played before a winner is decided. A broken play, a bad shift, a lost breakaway chance or an outright loss brings on the preachers. Why were not Spezza, Staal or Crosby not on the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics team?

Canadians will eat their own if their titans faulter. After all, Canada is king of the rink! Hmmm… Enjoy the drama!

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