There is little known about what exactly causes one to be knocked unconscious but many agree it has to do with minor trauma to the brain stem. This usually happens when the head rotates sharply, often caused by a strike. There are three general manifestations of such trauma - the typical knock out which results in a sustained loss of consciousness (comparable to general anesthesia - where the recipient emerges and has lost memory of the event), a "flash" knock out where a very transient (less than three seconds) loss of consciousness occurs (where the recipient often maintains awareness and memory of the combat), and lastly a "stunning" where consciousness is maintained despite extremely distorted proprioception, visual fields, and auditory processing. A basic principle of boxing, and other combat sports is to defend against this vulnerability by keeping both hands raised about the face and the chin tucked in.
A fighter who suffers a concussion and becomes unconscious from a strike with sufficient knockout power is referred to as having been knocked out or kay-ohed (KO'd). Losing balance without losing consciousness is referred to as being knocked down ("down but not out"). Repeated blows to the head are known to gradually cause permanent brain damage. In severe cases may cause strokes or paralysis. This is commonly known as becoming "punch drunk" or "Shot". Because of this, many physicians advise against sports involving knockouts.
Fighters who lose by knockout (either by ten count or technical) are automatically suspended 30 days, three months if it is the second knockout within three months, or one year if it is the third knockout within one year. In AIBA competition, this does not apply if a fighter loses by a technical knockout outclassed, when a fighter is behind more than 20 points—15 for junior levels—in any round except the final round.
Read more about this topic: Knockout
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