Up close and personal with fight doctor Dawne Carroll, MD

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 

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 

Brad Berkwitt