Rob McCracken, trainer of former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, clarified his statement to the BBC Boxing Podcast that he knew Joshua was concussed by Andy Ruiz
McCracken received tons of criticism for his confession, primarily from brain injury charity Headway. “It’s a shocking admission, but it’s highly unlikely this is an isolated incident.” said Headway’s deputy chief executive Luke Griggs. Griggs continued “Trainers have a duty of care to their boxers and it seems clear that Anthony Joshua’s trainer’s sole priority was winning that fight, not protecting the fighter from a potentially fatal injury.
“We know once you’ve had a concussion, any subsequent blow can exasperate the damage. You are most at risk of having a particularly fatal brain injury if the brain has already been damaged and a concussion has already been sustained.”
McCracken moved to clarify his statement on Thursday:
“In professional boxing, fighters inevitably take punches and have difficult rounds and when they come back to the corner it is your job as a coach to make a quick assessment of the situation. There is no formal concussion protocol where the Doctor steps in to assess the boxer so you have to use your experience as a coach and your knowledge of the person to make a decision on whether you think they can recover.
“I have had this a number of times in my career in professional boxing where boxers have recovered from a difficult round to go on and win the fight. I have also pulled boxers out of fights because I knew it was not in their interests to continue.
“I am not a Doctor and it may be that concussed is not the right term to have used but the health of all the boxers I work with is of paramount importance to me and I have always used my judgement and experience to do what is right for them.”
A spokesperson for GB boxing, for whom McCracken is Performance Director, also released a statement:
“Ensuring we deliver a duty of care and protect the physical and mental health of the boxers is central to the way that Rob McCracken has led the world class programme for boxing over the last 10 years. Under Rob’s leadership we have an extensive medical team, which includes three Doctors, that are available to the boxers during training and throughout competitions.
“As a coach and Performance Director, Rob is widely respected in boxing and across the UK’s high performance system and anyone who has ever seen him work knows that he has the best interests of the boxers at heart. Rob is interested in every aspect of the boxers’ careers and personal development and the quality of his relationships with the boxers and the respect they have for him is one of the major reasons why boxers want to be part of the GB Boxing squad and why it has been so successful in recent years.”