Autopsy reveals fighter Dustin Jenson suffered head trauma prior to death

Credit to Steven Marrocco at MMA Junkie as author & source of the story

Autopsy reveals fighter Dustin Jenson suffered head trauma prior to death

by Steven Marrocco
July 16, 2012
MMA Junkie

An autopsy has concluded that fighter Dustin Jenson’s death was unrelated to an amateur bout he fought in Rapid City, S.D., on May 18.

The Pennington County Coroner’s Office on Monday issued a prepared statement to that stated Jenson died of a subdural hemorrhage due to blunt force head trauma “related to an injury approximately a week prior.”

“Although the timeline for the injury is consistent with the event, there is no conclusive evidence that the injury was sustained in the fight.”

The coroner’s office declined further comment.

Jenson tapped out to a triangle choke against Hayden Hensrud at Ring Wars 74, which was held at the 10,000-seat Barnett Arena inside Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Approximately 45 minutes after the fight, he collapsed backstage and suffered a seizure before being rushed to the hospital. He then was put in a medically induced coma and did not recover from a surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. He was taken off life support and died May 25.

As previously reported, a private EMT company had been contracted for the event, but an ambulance was not on standby. Fighters were not required to submit bloodwork, neurological or ophthalmological exams beforehand.

“If a promoter or a regulatory body can’t do or can’t afford proper medical screening, then they shouldn’t do the event,” New Jersey State Athletic Control Board counsel Nick Lembo said the of incident. “It’s not good for the sport.”

Jenson had no record in the Association of Boxing Commissions’ official record keeper, But according to the promotion’s website, he had fought in three prior Ring Wars events since January – a total of four fights in fewer than four months. At Ring Wars 71 on Feb. 24, in a fight which can be seen on YouTube, he suffered a bad first-round knockout.

Typical suspensions from athletic commissions for knocked-out fighters range from 30 days to 90 days.

South Dakota in 2009 enacted a bill to create the South Dakota Boxing Commission, which would oversee combat-sports events in the state. But according to Joe Kafka, who served as press secretary under then-governor Mike Rounds and serves for current governor Dennis Daugaard, the five-member commission never was appointed because the legislature didn’t provide funding for the bill.

“So Mike refused to appoint because of that, and another problem was the legislation would make commission members personally liable for expenses that weren’t covered by revenues from boxing events,” Kafka said. “So the former governor believed it was not reasonable to ask private citizens to risk their own personal assets for such a venture.”

South Dakota state Rep. Dean Schrempp, who works as a boxing referee in North Dakota and sponsored the bill in 2009, told the Rapid City Journal that Jenson would be alive today if a commission were in place. Gov. Daugaard, who expressed a like for boxing but distaste for MMA, countered that a commission would set off more events, which in turn would lead to more deaths.

“If this young man wanted to fight, he simply wouldn’t have reported the concussion,” he said.

On July 1, a repeal clause voided the dormant 2009 bill. Meanwhile, MMA continues in South Dakota, where the sport remains unregulated.


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