Neurologist Warns Kick That Felled Ronda Rousey Could Have Proved Fatal

In the wake of Ronda Rousey‘s brutal Melbourne knock-out by Holly Holm, ending the UFC champ’s undefeated streak, analysis of the bout and of Rousey’s future career prospects continues. 
Today, neurologist Professor Chris Levi offered an assessment of the fight to The Sunday Telegraph, saying that the kick Holm landed on her opponent could easily have proved fatal, and likening it to the trauma that killed cricket legend Phil Hughes.
Hughes died when a cricket ball struck him in a vulnerable part of the neck, rupturing the vertebral artery to his brain, and causing a haemorrhage, after which he never regained consciousness.
Levi believes that Rousey, who was struck in an “almost identical area” to Hughes and then punched three times in the head before the bout finished, was put at a high risk of neck trauma, stroke or death by the kick.
The professor went on to warn that neck injuries are a common cause of strokes in young people, saying: 
“At the top of the neck there is a relatively exposed vertebral artery that supplies blood to the brain. We’ve known for many years that sudden rotational force can actually tear the artery. If that vessel tears and there is bleeding within the wall of the vessel that bleeding can narrow the vessel, block it, and cause a stroke … It’s important to raise awareness about this. If someone has a neck injury, they need to be vigilant and aware that these injuries can tear a vessel. It’s one of the most common causes of a stroke in young people.”
After Rousey’s brutal knock-out, concerns were raised over the safety of UFC, and there were calls to introduce headgear for fighters; Rousey’s trainer Mike Dolce, however, put these concerns down to “casual” fans who do not know the sport. 
While many in Australia were stunned by the brutality of the fight, Dolce said that Americans “feel the same way” when they watch rugby games, in which large units “[ram] their heads into each-other with no helmets on”. 
“It’s a matter of education to the casual fan. But the fact is the UFC is here now, I think we will do a great job in educating the public and show why the UFC is the fastest growing sport on the planet … That conversation [regarding safety] went through the United States about a decade or so ago and we have proven that is not true, based upon the very low incidence of injury. There have been no long-term injuries inside the UFC.”
Ronda Rousey herself has remained relatively quiet since her defeat in Melbourne last weekend, posting a brief message to fans on Instagram, thanking them for their support and promising “I’ll be back.”
via Sunday Telegraph
Photo: Brandon Magnus via Getty Images