About Concussion Legacy Foundation
Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) operates as a non-profit organization that supports athletes, veterans, and all affected by concussions and CTE. The organization assists patients and families by providing personalized help to those struggling with the outcomes of brain injury. It is based in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Jan 25, 2023
TBS’ Power Slap hopes to become the UFC of Slap Fighting Eleon 8 mins ago 175 Dduring the opening scene of Power Slap: On the way to the title, the TBS show which debuted last week and which showcases the emerging sport of slapping, forward Chris Thomas walks into a square and calls out “good three”. He tells the official that on a count of three he will end up hitting his opponent, Chris Kennedy, with all the speed and power he has in his right hand. Kennedy, meanwhile, holds his hands behind his back, clutching some sort of stick to make sure he won’t raise his hands to defend himself from this onslaught. One. Two … CLICK! The chalk that Thomas put on his hand before the kick flies out of Kennedy’s face, as Kennedy falls to the mat. Ohhhh! shout the people in the crowd. Someone cursed. Although the words are spoken, it is easy to guess what was said. Something that rhymes, perhaps, with “sacred spit”. Or “oh, puck”. The force sends Kennedy rushing so fast that the two men standing behind him – whose job it is to catch him before his head bounces to the mat – don’t seem to make it in time. The referee calls the “fight” immediately. (Is it a fight if, according to the rule, a fighter cannot defend himself?) The referee calls for a doctor. Kennedy’s eyes seem to roll back in her head. Thomas leans in for the camera and yells, “That’s what I’m talking about!” power stroke the producers replay the strike in slow motion, from three different angles: we can see Kennedy’s skin, and imagine his trembling brain. Kennedy returns. But he can’t remember where he is. An official told him he had been knocked unconscious. “Was I fighting? Kennedy asks a doctor. And with that, many Americans were introduced to the slap fight and the Power Slap, the new combat sports gear backed by the UFC and its lighting president, Dana White. With Power Slap, White hopes to do for slap fighting what the UFC did for mixed martial arts: organize it and promote it to the masses. The timing of Power Slap’s launch, however, proved problematic. On the one hand, Damar Hamlin’s near-death experience on the football field on January 2 reminded millions of the risks of violent sports. After science has shown that concussions and brain injuries sustained in sports can lead to serious long-term cognitive damage, the marketing of helpless head shots stands out as particularly egregious. Additionally, on January 2, TMZ released a video showing White and his wife, Anne, slapping each other at a New Year’s Eve party in Mexico. White told TMZ she was “embarrassed” by the incident and shared that he and his wife apologized to each other and their children. “To say it doesn’t look like her is an understatement,” Anne said in a statement to TMZ. “Nothing like this has ever happened before.” They said excessive drinking contributed to the spitting, though White told TMZ that drinking shouldn’t excuse his behavior. TBS has pushed back the premiere of Power Slap by a week. A UFC spokesperson did not make White available for an interview. Sports medicine experts have criticized Power Slap. “There’s no justification for that,” neuroscientist Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation and former WWE wrestler, told TIME. In a recent interview, White mentioned that while Power Slap athletes take three to five punches in their matches, boxers can take 300 to 400 punches to the head in a fight. “It misses the point,” says Nowinski. “He knows what he’s selling is garbage, but he’s trying to make money off the suffering of others. It combines all the worst elements of any sport. No drama, no art, and just trying to test human limits that lead to permanent damage. “I hope the sport won’t last very long,” says Dr. David Abbasi , a sports medicine specialist who worked as a ringside doctor in professional boxing and MMA matches. “Because the brains of these athletes are at serious risk.” Even some MMA fighters have gone wild over slap fights. “This type of event (I won’t do to call it a sport) is the dumbest thing ever,” said fighter Josh Barnett. wrote on Twitter, in response to a clip f from a Romania-based promotion showing a slap fighter with a swollen and disfigured face taking another hit. “Why do people support this shit? White’s rising UFC star Matt Frevola lambasted Power Slap after his debut. “I don’t want to know how much money was invested in this Power Slap shit”, Frevola wrote on Twitter . “Why not invest that money to make the UFC a better overall product and legitimize the sport? That’s stupid too lol” The slap fights came first to White’s attention in 2017, when he saw clips of the sport online from Russia and Eastern Europe. The page views impressed him, so he decided to invest, along with former UFC owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, in organizing, regulating and promoting the sport. Power Slap is sanctioned in Nevada, and the TBS show will feature fighters training and competing in the sport, with a first pay-per-view live event to follow. Power Slap fights consist of three to five rounds, with one slap per round. If no fighter is knocked out, judges declare a winner based on “attacker efficiency, as well as defender reaction and recovery time.” Fighters must stand still in a box before striking an opponent; a fighter can’t, say, get off to a strong start to increase the power of the strike. Strikes must be open handed and the cheek is the target area. Blows to the ear and temple, for example, are illegal. However, hard hits anywhere on the head can do damage. “If you’re able to spin their head, if you’re able to hit them off center, then you’re talking about the potential to physically damage their brains,” Nowinski says. “Because you get centripetal force and shear injuries because parts of the brain are going to twist at different speeds.” Power Slap president Frank Lamicella points out that before every fight, forwards undergo a battery of tests — physical exams, MRIs, testing for performance-enhancing drugs — to ensure they are fit to compete. Several doctors, first responders and ambulances are on site during the fighting. “There is an inherent risk in sport,” Lamicella told TIME. “Our job – and that’s what we’ve done with the UFC – is to make sure that the health and safety guidelines are as important as possible, and that they are followed whenever there is a match.” Lamicella says that in the more than 50 Power Slap matches that have already taken place, “there hasn’t been a single serious injury.” The second episode of Power Slap: On the way to the title airing Wednesday night on TBS, 10 p.m. EST The show drew 295,000 viewers in its debut, making it No. 45 on the top 50 cable TV shows on January 18. Power Slap, however, lost the majority of their core audience. : AEW Wrestling, airing from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on TBS, was the No. 3 cable show of the evening, with 969,000 viewers. A TBS spokesperson did not make executives available to speak to TIME about Power Slap. Power Slap has attracted over a million viewers to Rumble, the video-sharing platform that streams Power Slap: On the way to the title outside the United States. A Power Slap clip on TikTok, complete with knockout, now has over 100 million views. Chris Thomas, whose ferocious strike was highlighted at the top of the power stroke first, was dabbling in MMA when he saw slap fights on Facebook. “They posted something on Power Slap and I was like, oh, this isn’t real,” Thomas, 31, told TIME. “This stuff is dumb, whatever. Then I thought, fuck, maybe I’ll take a slap if this is real. Because I can take a hit. I haven’t been knocked out a day in my life. » After his stunning debut, Thomas was selected to train with other fighters pursuing a Power Slap career. He won’t disclose how much he earned for appearing in Power Slap, or his prize money for the wins. But he insists the sum “changed my life”. (Former UFC fighter Eric Spicely said on Twitter that he was offered $2,000 to get in a fight and an additional $2,000 if he won. A Power Slap spokesperson didn’t did not respond to a request for comment.) Thomas gets more adrenaline from defense than from attack. “You’re like, let’s go,” he said. “I’m gonna eat that shit and spit it out. Every time I get hit, all my power, all my focus, kicks in. If they hit me, they won’t survive afterwards. There is an art to absorbing force, according to Thomas. “Right before I take a hit, I squeeze,” says Thomas. “As they hit me, I cling and move with it. I absorb the impact much more than if I were just stiff or soft. Thomas says he grew up in Idaho, in and out of the foster care system. He made his first line of drugs when he was 11, he says. He stole food to survive. Thomas says his tough upbringing has accustomed him to any fear in the ring. “I’m not afraid,” he said. “If you can survive this, you can survive anything.” He thinks slap fights have a powerful appeal. “You’re going to see a lot more damage, a lot more testosterone thrown all over the place,” says Thomas. “If you watch the show, you’ll see a lot of real life stuff. It’s not just about Power Slap. It’s about people’s lives. He also feels like it’s Power Slap’s reviews that are missing the point. “If anyone wants to make sports a bad thing or has something bad to say about it, just realize that there are people here who really appreciate it and love it and have love for the people involved,” says Thomas. “It’s kind of selfish to say someone can take a stick, stick it in the ground, throw themselves on another stick and land on a bed and call it a sport, but we can’t call Power Slap a sport.” More must-reads from TIME
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