Errol Spence Jr. had sustained a retinal tear and was pulled out from the fight with Manny Pacquiao on August 21. It was good for Spence as the injury was discovered ahead of time and it could have shortened the career of the boxing star.
Errol Spence could have gone blind
During a pre-fight medical examination, doctors with the Nevada State Athletic Commission discovered the tear and recommended emergency surgery. Spence flew home to Dallas and had surgery a couple of days later.
“I was telling the doctor let me fight this fight and I’ll get surgery right after. Doc wasn’t (having) it,” said Spence in an Instagram post showing his bandaged eye.
The athletic commissions across the world had highlighted the importance of medical oversight in the sport and it was an example of a commission acting appropriately.As per NSAC regulations, fighters who wish to compete in Nevada “must submit a dilated ophthalmological exam administered by a licensed ophthalmologist. This exam must be done more than 24 hours before the fight and is valid for one calendar year.”
But in a list of state medical requirements compiled by the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports, there are a number of state commissions who either do not require an eye exam of any sort or do not offer confirmation that they do.
If Spence had completed an eye exam within the calendar year but had sustained the tear since the test, the fight would be happening, putting Spence in serious danger.
“The retina is a membrane filled with light-sensing cells in the back of the eye. It acts like film in a camera to capture light and transmit it to the brain. If someone is hit hard enough, or the head swivels quick enough around, it can detach from the wall of the eye,” said Dr. Jonathan Gelber, a member of the Association of Ringside Physicians and the author of the book Tiger Woods’s Back and Tommy John’s Elbow: Injuries and Tragedies That Transformed Careers, Sports, and Society. “Untreated it can lead to severe consequences, even blindness. Consider Michael Bisping in MMA. He suffered a detached retina in his fight against Vitor Belfort and fought again three months later. Eventually he became blind in the eye and says he secretly fought with a glass eye for years.”