How to Recover from a KO

Poor Amir Khan…one thing that I don’t like about the popularity of combat sports, including the UFC, is how we kind of assume a fighter is fine after a KO and are ignorant to the potentially life-changing effects. A fighter definitely won’t leave the cage in the same neurological state as he entered it, that’s for sure.

Confusion, thowing-up, aggression are some of the short-term effects, permanent brain-damage can be a long term effect.

What to Eat After a KO / Fight

Nutrition for Concussions Based on Site of InjuryImage Source

The general rule is to avoid inflammatory foods such as gluten, alcohol, caffeine and sugar for at least 72 hours after a concussion – or a fight in general. This is to minimise the neurotransmitter “substance P“.

Consuming glutathione, in mice at least, has been shown to offset some of the damage caused by a concussion. You can buy ‘NAC powder’ which will boost glutathione levels in the body.
Turmeric has also been shown to offset some of the effects.
Other literature recommends:
Vitamin D – for it’s neuroprotective properties
Fish Oil – To reduce inflammation
Pineapple – For its bromelain content – a strong, natural anti-inflammatory.
Magnesium – For it’s anti-inflammatory properties.


What to Do
Get plenty of rest, again or the first 3 or 4 days. Recent research suggests that some light, LIGHT, no-contact exercise may in fact accelerated recovery from concussion.


Why Do some Fighters Have Good Chins, Whilst Others Don’t?
On a tangent slightly, and I’ll probably right another post on this, but having read some articles and studies it seems to boil down to:

Shape of the Jaw (and maybe, the Shoulders) – Not 100% on this one, but people with broader jaws and shoulders appear, to absorb shots better. e.g. Mark Hunt, Roy Nelson, Cabbage, Fedor, BJ Penn


Neck Strength – study here

Previous number of concussions / KOs 

A genetic ‘polymorphism’ known as Apolipoprotein E  – study here

“Carriers of all 3 APOE rare (or minor) alleles assessed in this study were nearly 10 times more likely to report a previous concussion and may be at a greater risk of concussion versus noncarriers”

About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. A Stoic Hippy with no hair. Not to boast but - 1st Class Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough, MSc in Nutrition from the University of Liverpool. 20 years experience of weight & fitness training.
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