The American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP) announced today new medical recommendations for professional ringside referees. Given the unfortunate events surrounding referee Jimmy Villers recent collapse and possible heart attack immediately after a boxing contest, the AAPRP now recommends that all referees over the age of 50 obtain yearly physical examinations and cardiac stress tests (every five years) in order to prevent future possible catastrophes.
Dr. Michael Schwartz, AAPRP Chairman stated, “many fitness centers around the world require full physicals and medical clearance for anyone older than 40 before they are permitted to participate in their gym programs. Why wouldn’t we recommend the same to protect the health and safety of our officials?” Dr. Allan Fields, Chief Ringside Physician – State of Florida concurred, “The referee is under both mental and physical stress and must be in good physical condition to do his job”. Additionally, Mr. Tim Lueckenhoff, ABC President stated, “I think we need to bring awareness to all our officials that they should obtain medical clearances.”
The AAPRP will send out more information on this subject to the commissions around the world and plans to have seminars to better educate all officials of the importance of pre-fight medical evaluation. “The referee in an intricate part of any boxing match”, Dr. Schwartz said, “They deserve the same level of care we would give to any athlete entering the ring.”