Estimated 6 million children participate in boxing or MMA
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Boxing and mixed martial arts is a growing sport that has taken over the globe.
An estimated 6 million children participate in some type of sport that involves fighting.
Youth fighters aren't allowed to strike their opponent's head or go for the knockout. And a doctor examines every fighter before and after competitions.
While there isn't enough data to show how dangerous the sport can be for children, pediatricians like Dr. John Tierney, in Los Angeles, say it's important to minimize safety risks like concussions.
"We're always concerned about the growing brain and what damages that might have with a single injury or the accumulation of multiple injuries," he said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against children having excessive media exposure to MMA contests, because it could put them at risk if they imitate what they see.