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Ringside

RingsideA medical doctor working ringside at boxing matches, Tufts graduate Dr. Richard Weinstein – recently honored for his work -- is a healer, not a fighter. White Plains, New York.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02.11.04] When he sits ringside at boxing matches, Richard Weinstein isn't rooting for a knockout. A surgeon who has worked as a doctor for amateur and professional boxing contests for the last six years, the 1987 Tufts graduate has sworn to protect fighters and promote safety in a dangerous game. Recently honored for his work, Weinstein says that while boxing may be controversial, he is dedicated to providing the best medical care possible in the sport.

"Dr. Weinstein, who was recently named Sports Medicine Physician of the Year by the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing, has worked as a ringside doctor for the past six years, covering fights from Yonkers Raceway to the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut," reported the New York Times.

An orthopedic surgeon at the White Plains Hospital Center in New York and director of sports medicine at Bone and Joint Associates in the city of White Plains, the Tufts graduate is a heavyweight both in and out of the ring. He has worked fights involving former heavyweight champion Buster Douglas as well as men and women's amateur matches, earning $100 to $250 a night.

Weinstein is also a crusader for health in a sport that has been criticized for its brutal nature and propensity for injuries.

"I've had some fellow doctors ask me why I'm involved," Dr. Weinstein told the Times. "If you are around boxing people, you know that they want doctors there. And if a law were passed for no more boxing, there would still be fights, but behind the scenes, with no doctors. The sport has been around since Greek times."

Encouraged by a mentor to become involved in the sport, the Tufts graduate said that the fanfare and atmosphere of professional boxing was what got him hooked.

Weinstein, who gives prefight physicals and observes the condition of the fighter between rounds ("The key is to determine whether the boxer is healthy enough to defend himself adequately" he told the Times), says that while aggressive, boxing is not necessarily more dangerous than other games.

"There are deaths in other sports like football, too; it's the nature of the beast," Weinstein told the Times. "I see more injuries in football and hockey. Percentage-wise, I see more [injuries] in cheerleading than boxing."

But would the Tufts graduate encourage his sons to participate in boxing?

"I would discourage it," Weinstein told the Times. "I think it's a great sport and if they wanted to spar to stay in shape, I think it would be great. If they wanted to go pro, I'm not sure I'd let them.

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