Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Does this Mechanism Of Injury require being strapped to a back board?


Check out that mechanism of injury!

We must use our magic “spinal immobilization” or they will surely end up paralyzed!

Or is that just a monster in the closet tale?

Does the Mechanism Of Injury mean that there is a serious injury?

I could not identify the fighters in this photo, so I do not know if back board was ever considered. Image credit.


If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to get punched in the head — really hard — fortunately, you don’t have to climb into the ring and find out yourself. Photographer Tim Shaffer gives you a pretty good idea of what it is like with his photo of Lavarn Harvell’s knockout of Tony Pietrantonio in Atlantic City, N.J., on Saturday.
Image credit.


By the time Pietrantonio hit the ground he was out could, causing referee David Fields to call an end to the fight immediately and call for medical assistance. After a few minutes the losing boxer had recovered somewhat and was able to climb on to his stool and eventually leave the ring without assistance.[1]


But, but, but . . . What if . . . ?

What if this is the way all fights are handled?

Is there any reason to strap any walking/sitting person to a back board?


Michael Gbenga punching Dean Francis. Francis won a unanimous decision. No back board for the winner of this fight. Image credit.


Stopped by the referee in the fifth round Mike Tyson TKO of Frank Bruno. No back board involved. Image credit.


Bernard Hopkins punching Joe Calzaghe. Calzaghe won a split decision, so no back board appears to even have been considered for the results of this punch. Image credit.


Lennox Lewis knocks out Hasim Rahman in the fourth round of their WBC and IBF heavyweight title rematch. No reports of any “spinal immobilization.” Image credit.


I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the photo of Muhammad Ali standing over a downed Sonny Liston in Lewiston, Maine, urging him to get up. Image credit.


Urging him to get up?

Not telling him to lie there and wait for EMS to use their magic “spinal immobilization” voodoo on him, so that he won’t be paralyzed?

Say it ain’t so!

Were any of these fighters strapped to a back board?

Probably not.

Did any of these fighters have spinal injuries because of a lack of that back board voodoo?

I do not have any reason to suspect that any of these fighters had any kind of spinal injury, even though the Mechanism Of Injury is the kind we have been warned about.

Mechanism Of Injury is only a clue about where to pay extra attention during our assessment.

Mechanism Of Injury is not a good basis for treatment without some assessment finding to accompany the Mechanism Of Injury.

And “spinal immobilization” is still a treatment based on a weak hypothesis with no evidence that it improves outcomes for any patients, but with evidence of harm.


[1] Lavarn Harvell Knockout Punch Smashes Tony Pietrantonio?s Face In Temporarily [PHOTOS]
International business Times
BY IBTimes Staff Reporter
April 30 2012 5:38 PM



  1. “Whatever he hits he destroys!”

    Ivan Drago demonstrates his punching power. http://youtu.be/940_EOYRyqU

    Part of the mythology is mythology.

  2. The protocol I really loved was “fell from twice standing height:,which I have watched get a guy a helicopter flight for a broken ankle.

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