Disasters · New York

Boxer’s unusual death in the ring

February 10, 1933
New York, New York
Ernie Schaff is fatally injured during a boxing match with Primo Carnera

In 1932, Schaff had been injured during a match with Max Baer which left him with headaches from that point on, and those around him believed he may have had brain damage.

On February 10, 1933, Schaff’s opponent Carnera hit Schaff with a fatal jab (pictured) in the 13th round, causing Schaff to crumple. His manager, fellow boxer Jack Sharkey, attempted to revive Schaff with smelling salts but to no avail. He was taken to the hospital where he slipped into a coma and died on Valentine’s Day.

Though Carnera felt extraordinarily guilty for Schaff’s death, it was determined by New York medical examiner Dr. Charles Norris that Schaff had brain information from a “bad case influenza” and had “recent signs of Spinal Meningitis”. It was Dr. Norris’ conclusion Schaff’s death was a result of these 2 viruses combined with repeated blows to the head during the match.

Video footage of the fight: https://youtu.be/xDMnM6Odb3Q

Image source: https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:b5645682f

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