Parents please get informed..

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by YaTYaS, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. YaTYaS

    YaTYaS Member

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    The military academies provide a great education and a world of other opportunities that regular colleges don't offer. With that being said, the bottom line is your DS or DD might have to pull the trigger or call in a fire mission. Boxing is required and is staying at the service academies. Our military can't fight if they don't know how.. My DS thinks his boxing skills have improved so much he wants to challenge this Marine over Thanksgiving break.
    P.S. Thanks again for this forum it was helpful in my DS journey to the Academy.

    In response to that paper in NYC.
     
  2. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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  3. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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  4. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    WEST POINT, N.Y. — A bell clanged and two cadets in boxing gloves surged from their corners in a gym at the United States Military Academy last week, throwing jabs and uppercuts while other cadets yelled “Keep working him!” and “Use the hook!”

    For more than a century, boxing for male freshmen here has been a rite of passage and an academic requirement — one they share with male cadets at the Air Force Academy, and midshipmen of both sexes at the Naval Academy. Officials say there is no better way to teach the grit needed for combat.

    “We want to expose them to fear and stress and teach them a confidence to respond,” Lt. Col. Nicholas Gist, the director of physical education at West Point, said as he watched the cadets fight. “We’d rather teach that at the academy than in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

    But data obtained by The New York Times shows that the lesson comes at considerable cost. Boxing accounts for nearly one out of every five concussions at West Point, and one out of four at the Air Force Academy. So far this school year, boxing has caused a quarter of all concussions at the Naval Academy — more than twice as many as football.

    The injuries regularly sideline cadets from varsity sports, academics and military training, West Point officials said. Cadets too concussed to complete the boxing class are required to repeat it.

    The Army delayed releasing concussion data to The Times for months as it discussed ways to draw attention away from the issue.

    Now some parents and policy makers are asking whether the military needs to find better ways to instill perseverance than having its best and brightest repeatedly punched in the head.

    “Whatever benefit a cadet gains from boxing, the cost of missing studies, of missing training, of becoming more vulnerable to injury down range, are detrimental to military readiness,” said Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate who is the chairwoman of West Point’s civilian advisory committee, known as the Board of Visitors. “It’s possible by trying to prepare our cadets, we are making them less ready.”

    In the last three academic years, West Point has documented 97 concussions from boxing, more than any other sport, including football. The Air Force Academy has reported 72, and the Naval Academy 29.

    Boxing is not required training for students in R.O.T.C. at other colleges, or for those who enlist as infantry troops and will be the most likely to face hand-to-hand combat.

    Some medical experts say the risk of the boxing requirement may outweigh the rewards.

    “No brain trauma is good brain trauma — even if there are not diagnosable concussions, there can still be lasting damage,” said Dr. Robert Cantu of Boston University, a leading neurologist specializing in concussions who has advised the Army and major league sports. “Maybe you could justify it if there is some crucial lifesaving skill that can’t be taught in any other way. But short of that, it’s absolutely stupid.”

    The sport has a hallowed history at the academies. Together they have won 18 collegiate championships in the past 20 years. And many of today’s top military leaders look back fondly on the pummeling they received as plebes, the West Point nickname for freshmen.

    Boxing was made a requirement at West Point in 1905 at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt, joining horsemanship and swordsmanship as necessary skills for young officers. And though swords and horses were cut long ago, boxing remains.

    It has endured even as the military, after 10 years of battling roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, has become increasingly aware of the seriousness of traumatic brain injury, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on research and treatment.

    To some extent, the heightened national concern over concussions in recent years has softened plebe boxing. Cadets at West Point now wear thick padded gloves. In sparring bouts, fighters can throw only one hook, one cross and one uppercut per round. And after each of the 19 classes and three test bouts, coaches give a short talk, telling cadets to report to the health clinic if they feel symptoms of concussion.

    But during a recent class, cadets still took repeated jabs to the head, which, Dr. Cantu cautioned, can lead to lasting injury, even if there are no documented concussions.

    Minor concussions become major disruptions to cadets’ lives because West Point medical protocols require any cadet with a concussion to rest for at least two days, skipping all academic work, sports and military training. For several days after, cadets are usually ordered to limit athletics and schoolwork, sometimes putting them behind in classes. Professors are notified that such students are on “cognitive profile” and should have a light workload.

    Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., the superintendent at West Point, said the protocol was a drastic change from when he played football at the academy in the 1970s.

    “I’ve been knocked out, given the smelling salts and shoved back in there — that was our concussion protocol back then,” he said in an interview. “I always thought it was a badge of honor when I got a concussion — now you are one of the guys. You get knocked out and keep going.”

    Now, he said, he has to weigh the costs and benefits of boxing. He said that West Point was working to mitigate injuries and studying the impact of concussions at the academy, but that he was unwilling to sacrifice teaching cadets how to overcome the fear of facing an opponent.

    That means, for now, boxing is staying.

    “We’re the Army. The Army gets stuck in the most dangerous, most ugly situations. Ground combat is a brutal, unforgiving business,” General Caslen said, speaking in a room filled with mementos from the Iraq war, including a chrome-plated AK-47 owned by Saddam Hussein. “To me it is a huge imperative to prepare our soldiers for battle, and I think it is what America expects of us.”

    In addition to boxing, West Point requires all cadets to take a hand-to-hand combat class that teaches takedowns and submission holds. General Caslen said the class was more effective than boxing in teaching cadets how to defeat an opponent, but less so in instilling courage.

    General Caslen said that he and the Board of Visitors had discussed finding a different kind of combat training that did not entail blows to the head, but that nothing had been settled on. He said he was also considering broadening the boxing requirement to include female cadets, who may be able to serve in combat roles beginning next year.

    Ms. Fulton, the board chairwoman, said tradition-bound academies were loath to abandon long-held customs, especially if they might appear weak to other academies. “I think there is a real feeling that no one wants to be the guy who ends plebe boxing,” she said.

    Among the parents of cadets, there is steady concern over boxing injuries.

    “It comes up on Facebook, social media and in meetings all the time because it’s a perennial problem,” said one parent who works in health care policy at the Pentagon.

    Her son, a top student and cross-country runner, was sidelined with headaches for two weeks after a concussion, she said. Because he missed so much boxing class, he had to retake it.

    “All the research and prevention going on in the Department of Defense right now on this, and we are still forcing kids to give other kids head injuries?” she said. “Have we learned nothing from 10 years of war?”

    She and other parents interviewed asked that their names not be used out of concern that the publicity could negatively affect their children’s careers.

    Last fall, after getting two black eyes and a concussion from boxing, an Air Force cadet who is a varsity athlete told his mother not to worry because he was taking only body blows in class until he recovered.

    In a phone interview, his mother said he had another concussion in a boxing bout a week later, and then woke up vomiting in the middle of the night. He was forced to curtail schoolwork as symptoms lingered for more than a week.

    “I was livid, beside myself, in a panic,” his mother said. “I knew he could be severely impacted, maybe for life, and for what? He is a math and science guy, this is the Air Force. He doesn’t need to know how to box.”

    Twenty years ago, the Air Force announced plans to end mandatory boxing because of mounting pressure from the medical community. But boxing continues. The Air Force did not respond to questions, or make any staff members available for interviews.

    After his second concussion, the Air Force cadet was forced to drop boxing class. He has to take it again this year.

    “I tried to get him to leave the academy, and he wouldn’t,” his mother said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.
     
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  5. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Call me old, outdated, etc. What I learned from my boxing class was what it feels like to be punched in the face. We don't want any of our service members to be punched in the face for the fist time during a combat situation.

    There are many things in life that we can learn without actually doing it, but not getting punched in the face
     
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  6. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    To the OP's point, someone should tell this lady that her DS might get deployed and have people shooting at him or worse. There is no safe military service.

    I guess I shouldn't remind her that many airplanes in the Air Force is older than her DS and migth even be older than her.
     
  7. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    So now unhappy West Point parents just contact the NYT anonymously and complain and the NYT jumps on it? First the pillow fight, now this.:scratch:
     
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  8. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    No, just send her this article.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...arless-fighter-pilots-action-Afghanistan.html
     
  9. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    I say, "God bless them all" with great appreciation for their service. Box on!:rockon:
     
  10. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Only guys box at Air Force??
    Uh, go Navy beat Air Force.

    Though the "BOXING AT NAVY" video is an accurate representation of how mids feel about boxing, it's honestly a pretty good experience. Most kids at the Academies haven't been in a fight before. There's value in learning how to keep calm under pressure and physical discomfort, and it's a little different with boxing versus wrestling and martial arts. There's also a lot of value in learning about how to be aggressive and take risks. Why do Marines do pugil sticks in boot camp and OCS/TBS? It's not because there's a bunch of football helmets and giant Q-tips lying around combat zones.
     
  11. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    I'm a bit bias to the whole boxing thing so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. I boxed and taught all my kids (4 girls and 1 boy) how to box and how to punch and how to defend. Yes there is a higher risk of getting a concussion in the boxing class than some of the other sports but that comparison the article does is a bit misleading in my opinion.

    Go and watch National Geographics Fight Science shows especially the MMA ones. They show the amount of force that these athletes generate can easily kill someone. Then why aren't deaths happening left and right in the sport? In the show they go over what a lot of fighters already know. It's just as important on how to take a hit than it is to give one.

    With that being said, comparing concussions from a class where people are learning for the first time to a Division I sport where the athletes have been training for years is a bit misleading. If they wanted an apples to apples they should compare the concussions of the boxing team to that of the others. I still think the boxing ones will be higher but not by that margin.

    My DS during the class rung someone's bell pretty good for dropping their left and he also took his licks busted lip and nose (not broken) in a different fight. He literally said "Well now I know what if feels like to have a busted lip and that you held back when we sparred didn't you?" He loved it so much he's training with the team in hopes of making it and doing good during the Wing Open.
     
  12. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Sad but true. Back before the "zero tolerance" wave hit the shores, it was customary to defend oneself or others in a dust up or two as you grew up. MemberLG mentioned it as did Hurricane12: The vast majority of those coming into the Officer ranks have not hit or been hit. It is not the same as a sports experience - even contact sports. I believe the military has to instill the "warrier" spirit now more than ever because of this lack of experience. I am glad they are holding these boxing events.

    I won't do this argument justice in a short post but I understand brain injuries and concussions are a big deal and I don't mean to minimize it. However, I think it could be over diagnosed in today's hyper "concusion focused" environment. As long as the participants use mouthgear, headgear, and heavy gloves while being supervised in the ring, I have no issue with boxing and see the benefits outweigh the risks. They should get wrestling and martial arts training also. And yes, Hurricane12, I am all for pugil stick training!
     
  13. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Yes - from the article "In the last three academic years, West Point has documented 97 concussions from boxing."

    So about 800 male plebes, say 35 concusion per year or 5%. My guess is that if concusions from mandatory boxing classes were separated from concusions voluntarily boxing activiteis (i.e. boxing club and boxing tournament), that 97 might be lower. I would think Football might have similiar percentage, if not higher (i.e. 100 players, 5 cases).

    IOf course some folks will argue one concussion is too many . . .
     
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  14. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

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    Wow, this is a really, really big problem. I know so because the New York Times just said that it is.
     
  15. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    TwinA thought he LOVED boxing class and was really good at it, and even - no - especially, it was excellent training for his wind and fitness level. So, he decides "I'm not fencing any longer , so I think I will join (scary music here) the boxing TEAM." Fast forward about a month into daily practice...
    "Mooommmmm! I quit the boxing team."
    "Oh, dear son, why would that be?" (while drinking my mint julip, eating bonbons, and lounging by the pool which is all my kids thought I did (note: homeschooling mother))
    "I really love it and all, but Mom, I'm just tired of getting punched in the face."
    "OK, sweetie-kins..."
    "I think I will take up mixed martial arts."
    "You do that."
     
  16. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    “I tried to get him to leave the academy, and he wouldn’t,” his mother said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

    This parent clearly doesn't get it. There is nothing for her to DO. Her cadet gets to live his own life and make his own choices.
     
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  17. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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  18. ToughChoice

    ToughChoice Banned

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    I second that "God bless them all" and pray for them.
     
  19. Kyguardmom

    Kyguardmom Member

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    Hmmm... Enlisted aren't required to do boxing, and they are, arguably, the first in the line of fire, right? According to my son, 'combatives' were emphasized during basic training and they wore protective gear. At the conclusion, they were quite ready, willing and prepared for physical, one on one combat. And I don't think there is an excess of concussions from this.

    Why couldn't something like that be substituted, given what has been learned about hazards of concussions? Because, quite frankly, I'd hate to have an officer with 'shaken baby syndrome' leading my son into battle if it could at all be avoided.

    And just because something has always been done, doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't change with the times. For example, back when this tradition started, women didn't have the right to vote, or join the Service Academies, for that matter. Just saying...

    Running and ducking for cover now... lol!
     
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  20. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Someone famous said that "there is no substitute for victory." As stated before there is no substitute for getting punched.

    If you had to bet $100, would you bet on (1) your son being lead by an officer with 'shaken baby syndrome' because this officer had take boxing at SA vs (2) an officer being able to use his or her boxing experience at SA to some good use in a life situation, who would you bet on.

    To an outsider many things are that happen at West Point or the Army might seem outdated or useless or unenlightened folks just hanging on to meaningless tradition. To that I argue that yes there are things that need to be changed, but most things should be left along as they have legtimate purpose to develop and future Army leaders. If we kept getting rid of what outsiders believe is outdated or irrelevent, West Point will become just another civilian college.
     
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