Does Boxing Sparring Cause Brain Damage?


The Boxing industry is recently increasing, as a consequence, a large number of boxers appear. Though, to survive in this industry, a man must possess heavy health and spirit. Why? Every time you watch a wrestling promotion, you will find the answer. 

Does Boxing Sparring Cause Brain Damage? It is not the only question that most people often ask. How do they endure with high daily intensity training and participate in rough matches? Do they feel unsafe after joining the boxer group? And a lot of problems with health have occurred.

Does Boxing Sparring Cause Brain Damage?

Is it a dangerous job? If it is, why do several muscular men choose to live with it? Because of the money, because of the fame, or because of their passion? They are all the mysteries of each boxer.

Anthony Joshua announced that he became temporarily unconscious after one week defeating Andy Ruiz Jr. A research has proposed about the health-affecting behaviors from Anthony’s case.

Research implements from Stirling University trial the ability to manage activities and brain energy. It is conducted on about 20 amateur wrestlers after they spent 9 minutes fighting. Test results previous and posterior to the 9-minute match have proved that performances on brainstorm testings are 52% worse, and muscle motor dropped by 6% due to sparring. However, those indexes only last for 24 hours and turn out to be normal in the end. 

Muscle motor is determined by transcranial magnetic stimulation, using magnetic waves running through the brain to understand brain-muscle interactions. The contributions have finished a set of tests to deliver objective perspectives on brain cognition.

Dr. Thomas Di Virgilio announced, “The temporary memory loss causes changes in the brain similar to effects by injury. This research is important because we prove that the instant brain damage not only from sparring but also from practicing daily.”. A group of boxers are engaged in a mock battle or fighting with the pads, not with a man. The experiment showed that the brain-muscle interaction index only decreased by 0.08% and 28% on memory tests. 

For years, there are many arguments around the problem: does boxing sparring cause brain damage? The main effect on boxers’ brains is not only the suffering powerful blows in the match but also the having severe injuries during daily training sessions.

How Their Brains Get Damage?

Wrestlers have to spend most of their time practicing, both amateur and professional. With high intensity of exercise, it is inevitable to get hurt, especially head injuries. 

Head injuries, even small, accumulate over a long time but not to be treated promptly, leading to permanent brain damage. Nerve cells are incapable of repairing themselves, like other cells in the body, so damaged parts will still be damaged.

The American Medical Association and British Medical Association have proposed a ban on wrestling. The consequence of wrestling has bên evident in figures on the number of professional boxers in head pain. Besides, there have been more studies that illustrated amateurs also get a high risk of brain damage. 

During the study, the scientists make a puncture on participants’ spinal cord to examine the number of chemicals in the cerebrospinal fluid that prevents the brain from concussion and drastic pressure fluctuation. Research results suggest that the more punches you take, the more damage your brain gets.

What About Other Health Problems That Boxers Still Have?

Headshots when wrestling can be the cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Can chronic headaches lead to Parkinson’s?

One of the leading neuroscientists in the world did the test for Muhammad Ali, an American professional boxer, activist, entertainer, and philanthropist.

Ali said that he had fought, and had taken many punches since he was a 30-year-old man and, so it is very likely that something wrong happened to him.

In 1984, after a 3-year end of wrestling, Ali was encountering tremors, retardation, stuttering, and unexplained exhaustion. Doctor Stanley Fahn, at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, conducted a general examination for Ali and confirmed that he had got the movement disorders, called in the medical world Parkinson.

This Ali’s health check has stirred the public: What did boxing do for our champion, Muhammad Ali?

Over two decades, the researchers have not found out whether his Parkinson came from fighting, or it had existed since he was a lawyer. One thing, however, is certainly that long-term boxing causes brain damage. And this job danger is a bomb that can explode anytime, like a coal miner with lung disease. 

Moreover, a new symptom named ‘punch drunk’, introduced firstly in 1928 by pathologist Harrison Martland, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

“For some time, viewers and supporters have known a mystifying phenomenon coming among prizefighters that, boxer’s talk, they are called ‘punch drunk’. The spectators often identify their idols by several familiar actions such as ‘cuckoo’, ‘goofy’, or ‘slug nutty’.”, quoted from his article. 

He roughly calculated more than half of the boxers suffer from this syndrome. 

Are There Any Solutions?

Boxing is one of the violent sports, and the players must accept the thing. The danger of this sport, however, has frighted the audience, especially direct hits to the opponents’ heads that cause brain damage. This fact has promoted the blockade of medical associations around the world.

Doctor Jordan had proposed some measures to make boxing less savage. As a medical director of the New York State Athletic Commission until 1995, he had activated some wrestling rules. For instance, boxers have to experience MRI brain scans once a year.

But the problem has not been fully resolved yet. 

To Wrap Up

Does Boxing Sparring Cause Brain Damage? The damage is caused little by little, not only by sparring but also by practicing. So joining the boxing ring means risking yourself, particularly your head.

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