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tommy morrison should he fight?

Sep 26, 1996

mr sowadsky. as im sure you've heard,tommy wants to fight one more time to raise money for children with aids/hiv.already i've heard several different opinions on this ,including magic johnson who said his doctors told him that this could be a problem for the person who might decide to fight mr.morrison. while i think we should salute him for his idea, do you believe that fighting could put any opponent in danger or is this something that could o.k. let me know what you think,thanks.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Although HIV has never been proven to be transmitted in a sports setting, boxing has a high potential of exposure to the blood of another person. This sport, more than any other, could lead to a risk of transmission of HIV and other bloodborne diseases. Although HIV has not yet been transmitted in this setting, a significant potential exists. This is because in boxing, there is a high potential for exposure to blood. Bleeding commonly occurs in this sport. There is also a high potential for blood to go from the bleeding boxer to other people around him (including the other boxer, the referree, and the people in the front row around the ring). Because a boxer wears very little clothing to act as a barrier when he is bleeding, blood definetely has the potential to expose other people. If the blood were to get into the eyes, nose, or mouth of another person, they could become infected. Also, if the other boxer also has open wounds (which is definetely a possibility in boxing), if one boxers blood gets into the other boxers open wounds, there could be a transmission of the virus.

It is for these reasons that Nevada and other states, require professional boxers to be tested for HIV prior to being allowed to box. Boxers are also required to undergo a complete medical exam, and to receive medical clearance before being allowed into the arena.

At this time, there is no need for screening of athletes in other sports, since the risk of HIV transmission isn't nearly as likely as it is in boxing. The required screening in this sport is to prevent transmission of this disease before it ever occurs. The risks of HIV transmission in other sports is extremely low. However, due to the nature of boxing, the risks of transmission of HIV in the arena are much more likely than other sports.

I do not know the likelihood of Tommy Morrison finding a boxer who would be willing to fight with him. But in many states like Nevada, and other major boxing states, that liklihood would not be very great, since he would not be allowed to fight in those states anyway.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS

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