Boxing and brain damage/lowered IQ?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by moyy, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. moyy

    moyy Blue Belt

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    I realize this isn't the place for this, but this is the community I frequent so this is where I wanted to ask the question. If mods really feel strongly about it they can delete the thread.

    Basically was wondering how much boxing/sparring can cause brain damage/lowered IQ? I've recently been going at it harder with sparring and have been getting some light headaches. I asked my some people about it and they told me I should take some time off as I could start developing some brain damage/lowered IQ from this. As with everything people tell me, I assume it's broscience until I run it by Sherdog, but I really don't want to risk brain damage or lowered IQ or anything of the sort for a sport I do recreationally and for fun. So, what's the consensus (if any) on this? Does boxing and the repeated head hits cause lowered IQ/brain damage or is this only an issue for professional boxers with a bunch of fights?

    Also, if I got a head scan now would this be able to show any possible brain trauma from boxing or would I need a point of comparison?
     
  2. bowlie

    bowlie Purple Belt

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    I have no proof but I really doubt it does damage your brain unless you are sparring incredibly hard,very often and without proper gear
     
  3. moyy

    moyy Blue Belt

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    This is also what I assumed, but a lot of people told me it's cumulative so even small hits over a long period of time will have a toll. Just wanted to make sure.
     
  4. Eric Brown

    Eric Brown Crusty old bastard

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  5. TylerRyan

    TylerRyan Blue Belt

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    End of his argument.

    TS: This forum in general is likely not a great place to ask for opinions on the matter, but it is a great place to ask people for info such as the links to research that Arlecchino has provided.

    There is plenty of research out there that indicates even small hits to the head leave some kind of bruising on the brain. Those headaches you're getting might be your brain saying "hey buddy, be nice to me".

    There is plenty of research on the topic, as well as ways to minimize the risk.

    I know the risks as well as I can, and I have chosen to accept them by continuing to train/spar/fight.

    As a start, invest in some fish oil/DHA :)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20597639
     
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  6. tdluxon

    tdluxon Red Belt

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    If it's enough to make your head hurt/give you a headache, then it's damaging your brain, at least somewhat. Obviously you aren't going to instantly start talking like a punch-drunk old boxer, it's a slow process of accumulating damage, but it has already started.
     
  7. Midnighter

    Midnighter Silver Belt

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    You're probably already retarded, man.

    You should have come to us sooner.
     
  8. moyy

    moyy Blue Belt

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    I've seen a few of these studies, but they all seem to apply to professional boxers who probably train and spard hard 6x a week. I'm not sure if these results can be extrapolated to someone who spars hard 1x a week in a club setting. Eitherway, these and other threads are turning me off boxing, will probably be reducing the amount I do it greatly or just not sparring.
     
  9. moyy

    moyy Blue Belt

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    Also how is brain damage defined? Is there any connection between the brain damage from boxing and lowered IQ? Or is it just susceptibility to brain diseases when you're older?
     
  10. bowlie

    bowlie Purple Belt

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    Also what is it comparable to? Is sparing one a week worse than getting severely drunk on a Friday night?
     
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  11. Pugilistic

    Pugilistic Silver Belt

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    There are no pro fighters who spar hard 6 times a week. That would be just needlessly insane. I'm assuming these studies didn't involve a lot of world level fighters who generally can get up to 200+ rounds of sparring in a 1-2 month period during fight preparation. Lower level guys will probably spar less. I'm a four rounder and I spar hard about 10 rounds a week. But every gym is different.

    Personally, I can't really tell if boxing has had much a difference on my mental capacity. In general though, getting hit in the head can't be good for your brain. Sinister made a few really good posts on this in the Striking forum. If I were you, I wouldn't worry about it too much unless your headaches are really bad. I like sparring too much to care.
     
  12. PWR1982

    PWR1982 Green Belt

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    A bit similar question.

    How much 'damage' does one punch knockout do:
    1, When it happens right at the start of a fight.
    2, After 1 round of getting pummeled with a lot of not that big punches.
    3, After 2 rounds of getting pummeled.

    Is 2 and 3 a lot worse, because there's more swelling of the brain before the punch?
     
  13. TheeFaulted

    TheeFaulted Inzer Belt

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    Professional Boxers do not spar hard 6x/week. If they are, they won't be professionals for very long. Professionals will often spar for many more succesive rounds than a club or Am boxer, and will spar more leading up to a fight, but they dont just spar everyday year round.
     
  14. moyy

    moyy Blue Belt

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    Thanks for this. As an experienced boxer what is your opinion on the rest of this issue?
     
  15. TeddyRoosevelt

    TeddyRoosevelt Brown Belt

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    When I'm boxing regularly, I do quite a bit of light sparring, and very very little hard sparring. Light sparring allows for techinque work without causing any damage, save unintended circumstances (headbutts, etc.).

    There have been very few times in which I have had a significant headache, or felt any injury to my head. If you're sparring light and you're sparring well with a training partner that matches your intensity, your head should not be getting hit with any significant force.
     
  16. TheeFaulted

    TheeFaulted Inzer Belt

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    If I was experiencing regular headaches, I'd take some time off from sparring. I'm a pretty cautious person though. I work with several adults who have had trumatic brain injuries, and it's pretty humbling to see what can happen. Of course, these guys had their injuries mostly from motor vehicle accidents, but its very scary how one hard hit on the head can affect everything from speech to memory to motor coordination.
     
  17. moyy

    moyy Blue Belt

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    It was just 2 sparring sessions where one of my partners went a bit harder (perhaps 90%). The headache was nothing super intense at all, just heavy feeling head really. Like you I'm a pretty cautious person which is why I got so worried about it.
     
  18. TeddyRoosevelt

    TeddyRoosevelt Brown Belt

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    I am cautious as well, which is why I would spar at 90% intensity exceedingly sparingly. In the history of professional boxing, there are quite a few examples of very high level fighters that take the opposite approach. I am not getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per fight; I am not taking the same risk.
     
  19. moyy

    moyy Blue Belt

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    Yeah exactly, I'll be telling this guy to chill out in future. But do you think doing a boxing bout or mma fight every 4-6 months or so with light sparring at all other times would have any risk? I know you also have competed or intend to compete in boxing, so you must have asked yourself similar questions.
     
  20. TeddyRoosevelt

    TeddyRoosevelt Brown Belt

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    I have absolutely thought about it, and absolutely do think there is some risk. But it's a comparably small risk to other activities you can engage in, and it's a risk that is easily mitigated in most training situations.

    In terms of head trauma, there is probably a pretty large difference between a professional boxing match and an amateur boxing match, given the difference in the length of the match, and everything entailed therein.

    It's kind of like life as a whole; if you want to enjoy life to its fullest extent, you probably have to engage in activities that require some amount of risk. If you want to be safe and have fun, you simply attempt to mitigate those risks as much as possible. I accept that there is risk in all of these activities, but not doing them would limit my quality of life. Therefore, I engage in them, but generally in the most safe way practicable.

    I drive cautiously, to mitigate risks on the road. I wear a ballistic vest at work, to minimize risks while on patrol. I try to train as safely as possible, to minimize risks in the gym. I'm not very much use to anyone while injured; and I'm certainly less useful if retarded by brain trauma.
     

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