Here is a frightening statistic: nearly 90-percent of boxers suffer a brain injury of some extent during their career, according to the Association of Neurological Surgeons. The repeated hits to the head on a daily basis are terrible on boxers, and causes them to be prone to Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease later in their lives.
“It is just repetitive trauma to the head – like whiplash on a daily basis,” Dr. Luis Villaplana, a Youngstown doctor, explained. “The brain has very little space to move inside the skull. It is never good to have repetitive trauma on an incased organ. Even if you have strong neck muscles, the punches will take its toll.”
One of the best ways to help reduce the number of brain injuries in boxers is also one of the most obvious. Helmets cut down on injuries, and amateur boxing requires them, but professional boxers don’t always wear headgear. “Similar measures [to amateur boxing] can also be used in professional boxing, but may decrease the thrill, which does appeal to many supporters,” said Dr. Hans Forstl in “Boxing – Acute Complications and Late Sequallae”.
None of this is exactly news, but it shows just how common the injuries really are. Every day, athletes destroy their bodies for the glory of the championship, and we continue to romanticize and aggrandise the sport. Vindy.com has more about the recent studies.