The British Association of Sport and Medicine held a two-way symposium on boxing a couple of years ago, and the proceedings have just now been published in a book, Medical Aspects of Boxing (Pergamon Press, 42 shillings). The usual arguments against boxing were presented—emotionally by Lady Summerskill, who would ban boxing, and cogently by some doctors who, in the main, urged more safeguards for the boxer rather than an outright prohibition.
Our fondness for boxing, which includes prizefighting, precludes any impartial report from this corner. Rather, we prefer to put down a few of the more telling arguments in the sport's favor, as they turned up in the course of debate:
Dr. W. L. Neustatter: "All I can contribute in indicative evidence after 30 years of psychiatry is how little I have come across psychiatric patients who have taken part in boxing.... Pleasure in boxing, as in all sports, is an artistic one rather than masochistic."
A.J.P. Martin, educator: "There is no more danger to young people in this sport, which is nowadays so well controlled and supervised both medically and otherwise, than in any other field of sport."
A. McDougall: "Since my association with university boxing in 1932 until the present day I have not had any student who has suffered any nervous instability or mental upset."
Dr. McDonald Critchlcy: "Is punch-drunkenness a disappearing disease?"
Dr. Philip Kaplin, member, Medical Sub-Committee, British Boxing Board of Control: "Chronic brain injury may occur here and there, but it must be very rare."
In the late rounds Jack Solomons, Britain's leading promoter of prizefighting, scored heavily by reminding Lady Summerskill how good a boxer her son had been when he was a student at St. Paul's.
For the past several years Roman Catholic bishops have been occupied with the Second Vatican Council, among them Bishop Robert E. Tracy, head of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana diocese. From Rome, Bishop Tracy has been sending letters back to the diocese to keep it informed of council progress and, occasionally, some personal matters. In one of these he described how he had spent one particular evening: