In a sport that is dominated by males, you have pockets of ladies throughout the United States that are breaking through the walls and adding positive things to the sport of boxing. One such lady is, Washington, DC's Fight Doctor, Dawne Carroll. I recently met Doctor Carroll when we were sitting ringside at the new DC Tunnel located at 2135 Queens Chapel Road, NE Washington, DC. She was one of the two commission fight doctors working that evening. After watching her in action, I was impressed by the professional way she carried out her duties and felt that her knowledge first on her position, than, on her vast boxing knowledge, would make for an interesting interview. Brief Bio on Dawne Carroll, MD: She attended Howard University and graduated in 1982, with a BS in chemistry. From there, she attended Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, graduating in 1985, with her MD. Upon completion, she returned to do her five year residency at Howard University Hospital, in emergency medicine. For the last 10 years, she has been in private practice.(Take notice to all the training she has and brings to the sport of boxing). The following is our interview:
Interview by: Brad Berkwitt Brad: What exactly is a fight doctors responsibilities? Dr. Carroll: We have two duties. First of all, before the fight, we are responsible for the pre-fight weigh-ins. Once that is complete, each fighters medical record has to be reviewed thoroughly to insure HIV, Hepatitis, EKG's and EEG's are all up to date. During the fight, there is a doctor assigned to each corner. We are responsible for our fighter to insure he has no significant head injuries, rib injuries, and extremity injuries. Brad: How did you get into being a fight doctor? Dr. Carroll: I have always enjoyed watching boxing and felt it was something I could do being that I am trained in emergency medicine. One night, while watching a fight on Showtime, I saw one of my colleagues working ringside as a fight doctor. I called him and asked how he became a fight doctor? He told me, if I was interested, the commission would bring me on. The commission did, and for my first fight, I worked the WBA, Jr. Welterweight Title Fight between Sharmba Mitchell and Reggie Green. Mitchell took a 12 round decision. Brad: What went through your mind the first time you sat ringside as a fight doctor? Dr. Carroll: I said to myself, this is a fabulous experience to be the only woman sitting here and I just can't believe it! Brad: What are the signs you are looking for when you recommend to the referee to stop a fight? Dr. Carroll: We look for any obvious signs of head injuries. Often times, you can have a fighter out on his feet when he has suffered a major blow which has caused a concussion. We look at major cuts on the face, and above the eyes. This can be a major problem because blood can get into a fighters eyes causing his vision to become blurred. These are some of the things that could stop a fight depending on the seriousness. One footnote Brad, in Washington, DC we can only make the recommendation to the referee to stop the fight. Brad: What are some of the bigger fights you worked? Dr. Carroll: As I said earlier, Sharmba Mitchell vs Reggie Green and William Joppy vs Julio Cesar Green which I recommended to the referee to stop in the 7th round. It was eventually stopped in the 7th round, with Joppy retaining his title. Brad: How long have you followed boxing? Dr. Carroll: I can remember first watching boxing when Muhammad Ali was in it. However, I didn't really get into it seriously until 10 years ago. Brad: Who are your three favorite fighters of all-time and why? Dr. Carroll: First is Roy Jones Jr. I think pound for pound he is the best fighter and the most exciting to watch. Second would be, Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whittaker. I met him back when I was going to medical school in Norfolk, Virginia and at that time, he was just coming out of the Olympics. He always gave a good exciting show when he was at the top of his game. Finally, is Mike Tyson prior to being locked up. I feel his skills before that time were much better than they are today. Back then, he always brought a ferocity in the ring and at that point in his career, he could box as well. Brad: What is the greatest fight you have ever seen and why? Dr. Carroll: The Thrilla in Manilla. There was just so much excitement surrounding the fight. When it finally came off, they gave the fans a true display of boxing that rates up there with the best of them. Brad: What do you think the state of boxing is in from a spectators view point instead of a fight doctor? Dr. Carroll: Right now, it is a truly an exciting sport and we need to continue with having the great fights we have seen, as of late. Brad: What do you think of female fighters? Dr. Carroll: I love them! However, they must be well trained and go in there to give the fans a good fight. Brad: Do you favor a mandatory retirement fund for all boxers and if so, how would you like to see it handled? Dr. Carroll: Brad, I totally agree that they need to put something in place for all fighters. This would hopefully stop some of the old- timers to feel compelled to come back so they can get some money. They need to take a certain amount from the fighters purse and put it in something similar to a 401K. This should continue for the entire fighters career. In addition, the large promoters that have made millions off of these fighters, should put a percentage in as well. Brad: When you retire from being a fight doctor, what do you want people in boxing circles to remember you for? Dr. Carroll: That I was always fair in my dealings with the all fighters and I never made the recommendation to stop a fight too soon. Brad: Finally, what is the saying you live your life by? Dr. Carroll: "I Just Want To Do God's Work" Dr. Carroll wanted to add the following to our interview: I really have a desire to be the first female cut person in the ring for a World Championship fight. I feel with my training, I would be an asset to the fighter as well as, the entire corner. Writers closing remarks: Once again, you have read an interview with someone that honestly cares about boxing. I have no doubt that Doctor Carroll will succeed when giving the chance to be a cutlady, if you will. She will treat the job with the same deep dedication she has for being a fight doctor. As always fight fans, keep reaching for the stars and all your dreams can be fulfilled.