A handheld scanner with the ability to detect bleeding on the brain is set to be introduced by a boxing authority later this month, with the aim of providing improved care for boxers. 

The British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA), which governs the sport in affiliation with various championship organisations, will first use the device at a boxing event in Bradford on 28 February. 

By shining an infrared laser beam into the head, the scanner is able to detect a bleed on the brain within approximately three minutes, well before common brain injury symptoms begin to appear. It is hoped that use of the scanners will mean that brain damage is detected earlier, and long-term injury can be avoided. 

The introduction of the scanner follows the death of boxer Mike Towell who, in 2016, sadly passed away after sustaining a head injury in the ring.  Six months prior Nick Blackwell, another boxer, was hospitalised and later forced to retire from the sport after suffering a brain injury. 

The importance of brain trauma prevention has not only been highlighted in boxing but has also been discussed in various high-impact sports such as football and rugby. It has also been a key focus of awareness campaigns targeting those playing sports at grassroots level. 

In 2016 Headway, the brain injury association, launched its ‘#Concussion Aware’ initiative with the aim of encouraging members of the public who play sports to be more aware of the dangers surrounding head injuries.  According to the charity one person in the UK is admitted to hospital with a brain injury every 90 seconds. 

Anthony Welsh, a serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The risk of head or brain trauma in sport has long been a prominent topic of discussion within the sporting and medical professions, but it is positive to see that an organisation is now taking a step towards preventing these injuries developing into something far worse by introducing the scanners. 

“We have worked with thousands of clients who have suffered a brain injury and we understand the importance of prompt diagnosis and treatment. BIBA is setting an example for other sporting bodies to follow and we hope that the use of technology with the ability to detect brain trauma at an early stage becomes more widespread.”