During the WAKO IF Board of Directors meeting held in Rimini on June 2019, the new Chairman of the WAKO Medical Health and Anti Doping Committee was appointed.
Dr. Massimiliano Bianco from Italy has serious background in combat sports officiating and did many researches in combat sports due to his medical speciality. He already has been present at WAKO events and championships but during European championships for children, cadets and juniors in Gyor, Hungary, he had duty on spot supervizing the work of the local medical team.
This is short introduction about our new committee chairman:
- What is your main reference about the new appointment in WAKO?
I’ve worked in combat sports in the last 20 years, especially in boxing where I was member of the Italian Medical Committee and team doctor of the Women National Team for a long period. At the beginning, Italian laws allowed women boxing only in experimental way, but after some years of data collection on injuries and an important scientific research, I succeeded in making women boxing an official sport in my country. My activity, also in the field of medical research, allowed me to have some international recognition and, currently, I seat as member in the Medical Commission of the European Boxing Confederation and of the International Boxing Federation. Last, but not least, I chaired the Medical Commission of the Italian Kickboxing Federation from 2014 to 2016.
- What are your main researches concerning combat sports?
My interest in medical research in the field of combat sports is another pillar characterizing my activity. My research interests ranged, during the years, from injury epidemiology, to sport physiology, weight cutting, concussion, and some other. This activity allowed me to chair the Research Committee of the Italian Boxing Federation for several years.
- What is your specialty in medicine?
My specialty is Sports Medicine, but my main field of interest outside combat sports is sports cardiology, studying and trying to detect all possible causes of sudden cardiac death of athlete.
- How can you in short, explain your future plans in WAKO?
In the future I hope I will manage to make same changes in the medical rules with the main aim to increase safety standards for our Kickboxers, both during championships and at time of receiving their medical certification for kickboxing. As we know, all WAKO rules are going through a changing process. Medical rules, too. Another challenging goal I’d like to reach is a WAKO Medical seminar oriented to educate and train our doctors from all over the world.
- Kickboxing and Dr Bianco: did you ever trained some combat sport?
I’ve started practicing martial arts at age of 13 years, then, due to a knee injury I entered a kickboxing gym where boxing courses were hold and I started practicing boxing. From that time I try to go to gym and train whenever possible. After a few days without the contact with fighters and the smell of the gym, I feel down. Due to study and working tasks, I had to lower down the volume of training and I started to referee and judge boxing matches. Currently I work as professional ring official for the European Boxing Union (EBU) and International Boxing Federation (IBF).
- What are the main challenges concerning care about athletes especially the youngest ones in combat sports?
One of the main challenges in combat sports is the huge problem of weight cutting. Within ladies, it can lead to eating behavior disorders, a serious, sometime lethal condition, often underestimated. We have to educate athletes, coaches and all sport personnel and we have to be much stronger with this intervention in the young so to change their mental attitude. Another great problem to face is to increase the safety standards that, as already told, is one goal of mine in the next future.
- Do you think that basic knowledge in sport medicine should be a part of education of every coach nowadays?
My personal opinion is that a basic knowledge in sport medicine should be part of education of all sport people, from referees and judges, to athletes, organizers and everyone can have a contact with competitors and the competition field. Of course, coaches are the more interested ones in this educational process, especially for those who work with young athletes.
- Which specialties in medicine can be incorporated in the future workshops with coaches in WAKO?
Hot topics in combat sports are weight cutting, prevention and return to training and competition in concussion, causes and prevention of sudden cardiac death in the athletes, blood born diseases and, of course, doping and anti-doping. Athletes, their families and coaches are very frequently unaware of the WADA banned list as well as of the procedures to be used to apply for a Therapeutic use Exemption.
- What we can expect first among your activities in WAKO?
First of all, hoping in a strong support of all the other WAKO Committees, I’ll try to implement medical rules and to changes the medical forms currently adopted. These forms are already a good tool, but I think that, with the help of all the members of the Medical and Anti-Doping Committee, we can make a few changes so to increase their usefulness in safeguarding our athletes’ health. I’d like, moreover, to have an active Medical Committee, with different members attending WAKO and Continental Championships, all adopting the same way of acting, so to keep the same safety standards all over the world.