The death of Becky Zerlentes ("Ring death stuns college," April 6 News) from brain injury sustained in a boxing match in which she was wearing protective headgear, will, I hope, stimulate people to think about the nature of boxing. Since childhood, when I saw Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson, I have admired the skill of boxers and the excitement of a boxing match.
However, as an adult, I have come to recognize that the principal aim of a boxer is to inflict brain injury upon the opponent. Boxing is the only athletic activity in which the aim of a contestant is to produce serious bodily damage in the adversary. However impressive the skills of boxers may be, the purpose to which boxers apply those skills is incompatible with treasuring the marvelous organ that makes us human beings, the brain. We should not encourage or support athletic activity that aims to inflict injury.
Richard Cowan, M.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology
University at Buffalo