February 8, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Death of a young boxer: intracranial hematoma

The investigation into the death of 16-year-old Vassilis Topalos continues, but the most critical questions remain unanswered. A forensic medical examination showed that the death of the athlete occurred after a traumatic brain injury that caused brain necrosis.

It is possible that the guy was hit hard during sparring or intense training, and then passed out in the bathroom of the gym in Tavros. Coroner Dimitris Galenderis talks about the reasons for the appearance of a hematoma in a young boxer:

“A subdural hematoma, that is, a hemorrhage, an accumulation of blood between the brain and its membrane, follows from the forensic medical examination. It takes a while for it to build up and start pushing the brain toward these symptoms. We then see the 16-year-old boxer lose consciousness, indicating the last stage of the hematoma. So, we must understand that this hematoma formed some time ago. Therefore, the cause must have arisen before fainting. I believe that his fall is not the cause.”

He believes that the cause of the hemorrhage should be sought during training, before fainting:

“These hematomas are of venous origin. Therefore, bleeding is slow. The time of formation of a hematoma is associated with an injury to the vessel, the larger the vessel, the faster this hematoma appears. The time it takes for something to be called an acute hematoma is four days. The patient during this period should have symptoms of dizziness, headache, unsteadiness, etc. From the anamnesis it is known that there were no these symptoms, so the blow that caused the bleeding, I think, was on the same day, during a workout that preceded dizziness and loss of consciousness.

Mr. Galenderis stated that the young boxing champion could have been saved, but due to the injury, the case turned out to be difficult:

“He could have been saved. Usually, subdural hematomas are treated with decongestion and hospitalization under close supervision. But here the bleeding was very strong, extensive and, I think, there were complications, as described in the history of the hospital where the young man was treated. It was a difficult situation. In this case, everything went pretty quickly. They quickly called an ambulance. The teenager quickly got into the operating room. Patients with subdural hematomas are aware of them at the time of collapse. Unless the initial injury led to hospitalization, and during the examination a subdural hematoma was found.

He also noted that in some cases a strong blow can indeed cause a fatal hematoma:

“These beats cause movement in the brain. This movement stretches the blood vessels. If such a movement is sharp, with great force, the wall of the vessel may burst. It’s rare, but it happens. Similar injuries can occur even when wearing a protective helmet and gloves. The movement of the head is the cause of the rupture of the vessel.

Policeman Stavros Balaskas says: “The athlete receives countless blows to the head.” He also played this sport and knows firsthand about the cruelty of blows: “I was a boxer in the National Athletic Association from the beginning of 83 to the end of 85. We didn’t wear helmets back then and boxing was really barbaric.”

According to Balaskas, this is a very dynamic sport in which the athlete receives a lot of blows to the head, and for this reason it is risky: “We have cases where boxers have been killed in the ring. When you go to knock out an opponent, it means that you will hit him and he will lose consciousness. I quit boxing because of my father. They made me a “bell”, my nose was broken in four places.”

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