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Police Training Program Has History of Injuries

From Associated Press

Three dozen state trooper recruits have suffered concussions since 1997 in the same boxing training program that led to a recent trainee’s death, and another has been paralyzed since he was punched 17 years ago, newspapers reported Saturday.

The Texas Public Safety Commission is calling for an independent investigation of the training program

The commission agreed to the review more than a month after recruit Jimmy Ray Carty Jr. died of head trauma, the Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday. Witnesses said Carty had been knocked to the ground at least twice by blows to the head.

Texas Department of Public Safety records show that three dozen other recruits have suffered concussions from the boxing matches over the last decade, the Dallas Morning News reported Saturday.

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Department spokeswoman Tela Mange said that amounted to about 2.3% of recruits. About 1,500 recruits have graduated since 1996.

If properly managed, full-contact fighting drills can be useful, said Dan Carlson, acting director of the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration in Plano, a law enforcement education center.

“You want to create a sense of muscle memory so if you are confronted, you can reflexively call upon some things to overcome the resistance,” Carlson said.

In the 1988 case, Joel Lopez Cordova, a former Marine who now uses a wheelchair, suffered a severe brain injury when he was punched in the head during the training. He spent two years in a rehabilitation hospital.

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The family settled a lawsuit against a boxing gear manufacturer, but Cordova’s brother Daniel Cordova said the public safety department accepted no blame for his brother’s injuries. He said the department blamed the manufacturer and a merchant that sold the equipment.

Department officials declined to comment on Cordova’s case.


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