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What I mean is that is it more dangerous than other contact sports that aren't martial arts? Such as Football, Soccer, Basketball, etc...

And if yes, why?

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We have another question that asks about the specific risks of concussions, which might be relevant to your question here. – Dave Liepmann Oct 16 '12 at 13:44
I would find it very difficult to answer this question. What do you mean by "dangerous"? Are you asking about the incidence of minor injuries (bruises, jams, sprains) or about the incidence of major long term injuries? e.g. dementia pugilistica? When you say "kickboxing" which of the many different rulesets do you mean? – Mark C. Wallace Oct 17 '12 at 10:36
More so, I'd dare say, and obviously so. You risk getting kicked in the head when you play Soccer; it's more of a given in kick boxing. Can the risks be minimized? Yes. But they are inherent to the activity. – stslavik May 30 '13 at 17:35

At a good gym, meaning experienced coaches and decent equipment, boxing/kick-boxing should not be that dangerous. First of all, you're probably not sparring right away, and once you are its in a controlled environment with mouthpieces, headgear, gloves, and shinpads(if kickboxing).

As pointed out in a previous answer, you are probably at an increased risk of facial bruises, bloody noses, etc, but not serious injury. However, if you are training for an MMA style of fighting which includes takedowns, your rate of injury is going to spike sharply.

Comparing it to other sports is tricky. Even at a high-school level we certainly had a higher level of general injuries in football, and typically more severe...broken bones not being uncommon. Basketball didn't have the same high incidence of really violent injuries, but a much higher incidence of high ankle sprains and the like. Soccer seemed relatively safe but I never played at a highly competitive level, and if you watch the Europeans play you'd think it was more dangerous than trying to snuff volcanoes with your bare hands with the frequency they go down screaming in pain.

In short, I think there are too many variables to objectively answer your question, but the above has been my (anecdotal) experience.

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I'm not sure that your statement about the safety of boxing is generally accepted.

"There is absolutely no way you can make boxing safe," said Nelson Richards, MD, a delegate from the American Academy of Neurology who proposed the original resolution to ban the sport in 1983.

The BBC reported

According to brain surgeons, over 80 per cent of professional boxers have serious brain scarring on MRI scans. The evidence for harm or cumulative brain damage to amateur boxers is less clear.

Boxing advocates point out that amateur boxing has fewer injuries than soccer, gymnastics, etc. However that source doesn't cite how they measure "fewer injuries", and doesn't state whether they count long term damage to the brain. There is some evidence that even amateur boxing can cause brain damage.

Ultimately, you may want to look at a source which compares injury rates. A quick google search suggests that football and soccer have the highest injury rate/hour practiced. But that doesn't address the severity or long term consequences of those injuries.

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I edited your Livestrong link to point directly to the BBC reportage, though it still lacks a link to the study. (If you think I erred, please feel free to roll it back or re-edit.) I think the distinction between pro and amateur is worth noting here. My answer on concussions (linked above) addresses this. – Dave Liepmann Dec 7 '12 at 16:37
I would also question your use of the term "short term" to describe the evidence of brain injury in amateur boxing. From the article you link: "The boxers who participated in the study competed on the top-level of Swedish boxing and all had fought at least 47 bouts." These are world class amateur boxers; the amateur refers to whether they take pro bouts, not their level of involvement in the sport, which is quite extensive and certainly not short term. – Dave Liepmann Dec 7 '12 at 16:40
Point taken. Answer updated – Mark C. Wallace Dec 7 '12 at 16:43

While black eyes and minor bruises or the occasional broke nose are quite common in boxing, i think the devastating injuries like cruciate-ruptures are rare.

From my non-representative experience i'd say that runners, soccer-players and the like usually spend more time with doctors because of knee-injuries or broken ankles than (thai) boxers.

Boxing happens in a very controlled environment, there is only one opponent to pay attention to and the attacks and defenses are well-established. While there is a big strategic component, there is not much creativity going into making up moves on the fly.

Soccer for example seems much less predictable to me. While running at full speed an focusing on the ball one may have to deal with being tackled at any moment.

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The short answer is yes. The very point of the sport is to do damage to your opponent. That being said, the chances of you actually breaking something (apart from your nose) is pretty rare. The only particularly dangerous thing that can happen to you in boxing or kickboxing is a concussion, which can and probably will cause scarring of the brain and make you "punch drunk" after a few years.

So yes, boxing and kickboxing is pretty dangerous, but the types of serious injury is limited to your brain unless you're very unlucky.

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