Rabbit punch

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This article is about the illegal boxing move. For the 1948 cartoon, see Rabbit Punch.

A rabbit punch is a blow to the back of the head or to the base of the skull.[1] It is considered especially dangerous because it can damage the cervical vertebrae and subsequently the spinal cord, which may lead to serious and irreparable spinal cord injury. A rabbit punch can also detach the victim's brain from the brain stem,[citation needed] which can kill instantly.

The punch's name is derived from the use of the technique by hunters to kill rabbits with a quick, sharp strike to the back of the head.[2]

Combat sports[edit]

The rabbit punch is illegal in boxing,[3] MMA,[4] and other combat sports[5] that involve striking. The only exceptions are no-holds-barred events such as the International Vale Tudo Championship (prior to rule changes in mid-2012).[6]

Amateur sports[edit]

On June 29, 2014, soccer referee John Bieniewicz was punched in the neck by Baseel Abdul Amir Saad, an upset player in an amateur match he was officiating in Livonia, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Bieniewicz died two days later of his injuries, and Saad was charged with second-degree murder.[7] Bieniewicz’s autopsy showed that force of the impact on the left side of his neck just below the base of his skull had resulted in a rare injury with twisted and torn arteries around the base of his skull, knocking him out before he hit the ground. [8]