Is boxing harmful to the health and brain of an athlete?

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Is boxing harmful to the health and brain of an athlete?
Is boxing harmful to the health and brain of an athlete?

Find out the hidden dangers of boxing training for your brain and health. How to minimize the impact of shocks on the human brain. For many years, the debate about the dangers of boxing for the health and brain of an athlete has not subsided. It's a risky sport, but it can also be rewarding. In every culture, at different developments of mankind, there was a sport similar to boxing. For example, in Russia these were fist fights. Boxing itself has gained great popularity in England. It happened in the nineteenth century. The rules were first approved in 1867 and gloves appeared at the same time.

The advantages and disadvantages of boxing

Boxing gloves hang on the wall

It would be wrong to talk about the dangers of boxing for the health and brain of an athlete without considering the positive aspects of this sport. With regular training and adherence to certain rules, a person will dramatically improve coordination, endurance, and also increase the efficiency of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Among the advantages of boxing, the following should be noted:

  1. The muscles are strengthened and the joints become more mobile.
  2. Movement becomes easier and agility is increased.
  3. The work of the body's defense mechanisms improves.
  4. Negative emotions and stress are suppressed.
  5. A person learns to protect himself and people close to him.
  6. The problem of excess weight is eliminated.

It is quite obvious that such a tough contact sport like boxing has some disadvantages:

  1. High risks of injury.
  2. There may be problems with the work of the nervous system due to frequent blows to the head.
  3. The center of gravity moves to the chest area, which slightly reduces stability.

How to properly conduct training in boxing?

Vladimir Klitschko in training

Of course, boxing training should be supervised by an experienced mentor. This is a difficult sport from a technical point of view and it will be incredibly difficult to comprehend all the nuances on your own. Only a good coach will help with the setting of strikes, and his recommendations will help to avoid injuries.

The technique of wrapping bandages is also quite complicated and you cannot do without the help of a specialist. You can conduct classes on your own only after you master the basic skills. You can then practice the blow at home, but you can't do without sparring. Before starting training, you should consult with your doctor about the absence of contraindications.

Boxing harm to athlete's health and brain

Mohammed Ali's rival misses a blow from him

Today, more and more people are starting to visit gyms to improve their health. However, medical professionals are constantly reminded that you should do the right thing, because otherwise you can harm the body. Even such a seemingly safe sport, like running, can be dangerous for the spinal column. This primarily applies to people who are overweight.

In the course of research, scientists have found that in certain situations, jogging in the park can be more dangerous than fighting in the ring. At the same time, there is no doubt that frequent blows to the head or body also give reason to talk about the dangers of boxing for the health and brain of the athlete. But it is no longer possible to say with complete confidence that this sport will necessarily cause the development of serious diseases of the nervous system and brain.

Note that the work carried out by the staff of the University of Heideiberk concerns only amateur boxing. With professional boxers, things are much more difficult and frequent blows to the head can cause disturbances in blood flow in the brain. After powerful blows, there is a high risk of capillary rupture and blood clots.But do not remember that the involvement of professional boxing in the development of Parkinson's disease in Mohammed Ali has not been proven.

After this incident, many parents took their sons from the boxing sections. Scientists from Germany have tried to refute the talk about the serious harm of boxing to the health and brain of the athlete. During the research, modern equipment was used, which scientists proudly declared. They chose for their experiment a tomograph capable of working with magnetic fields of strength three Tesla. The project manager will note that such equipment made it possible to detect even the smallest hemorrhages.

Recall that hemorrhage is called microscopic strokes of a hemorrhagic nature. At the same time, the quality of nutrition of nerve cells and their processes, which are highly sensitive to oxygen and glucose deficiency, is sharply reduced. If this happens, then the nerve cells, deprived of high-quality nutrition, die within several hours.

79 people took part in the experiment, 37 of whom had never been involved in combat sports, and the rest were amateur boxers. In the control group, not a single case of hemorrhage was recorded, and there were three such cases among boxers. Note that the temporal and frontal regions became problem areas of the brain. It is in them, after missed strikes, that the maximum tissue displacement is observed.

At the same time, scientists are confident that such results can be safely called statistically insignificant. In many respects, this conclusion is connected with a significant spread in the degree of boxers' fitness. The duration of their careers ranged from one to 25 years, which significantly influenced the number of fights held, as well as knockouts.

As we have said, you cannot project the results of this experiment onto professional athletes. Almost all previous studies have proven that the duration of a boxer's "sports life" has a strong impact on his health. However, it is still difficult to say whether hemorrhages can be called essential factors in the development of disorders of the nervous system. The group of scientists is not going to stop there and in the near future intends to conduct new experiments, but with the involvement of professionals.

Ordinary people are sure that boxers and especially professionals, after the end of their careers, have serious problems with the nervous system and brain. According to official statistics, only a fifth of all athletes who have retired have a disease that scientists have called "boxing dementia." Frequent concussions of varying severity cannot pass without leaving a trace and the consequences can be quite serious. First of all, this concerns cognitive abilities, which deteriorate sharply.

Of course, speaking about the harm of boxing to the health and brain of an athlete, one should take into account the length of his career and the total number of fights held in the ring. Although people most often think about the negative consequences for professionals when talking, amateurs are also not immune from them. Many sports medicine professionals speak of greater risk among professionals, citing the different goals of athletes as the reason.

Every professional boxer tries to knock out his opponent, and in amateur sports, fights often end in technical knockout. Do not forget about the more rigid rules used in professional sports, because it is very difficult to endure 12 three-minute rounds without even missing blows to the head. Recall that amateurs spend 8-9 minutes in the ring.

Amateur boxers are under close medical scrutiny and undergo a neurological examination after each knockdown.Boxers themselves say that gloves used in amateur sports are softer and are not capable of causing the same damage as in professional boxing. Recently, amateur sports have seen some relaxation of protection requirements. For example, an athlete may not use a helmet if he is already out of junior age.

Although research suggests that the absence of a helmet does not increase the risk of serious head injury, athletes should wear this type of protective equipment. Many amateurs even wear helmets during training. It should be admitted that many studies still suggest that the harm of boxing to the health and brain of the athlete exists even at the amateur level.

For example, in Gothenburg, scientists have found that after a fight in the amateur ring, several types of protein compounds are present in the cerebral fluid of athletes. Their presence indicates that the nerve cells have been damaged. Moreover, even after resting, the concentration of two proteins continued to remain high. An interesting fact is that the project manager, Sanna Nelius, was engaged in boxing at an amateur level in her youth.

The study in question now involved three dozen athletes. All of them had at least 46 fights in the ring. Scientists examined the athletes before the start of the fight, then a week later and 14 days after its completion. The results of the experiment were not encouraging - brain damage was recorded in 80 percent of the subjects. One fifth of the athletes showed signs of injury after rest. Note that not a single boxer was knocked out during the fight.

After the completion of the study, the scientists expressed the hope that their work will be noticed and taken seriously not only by boxers, but also by representatives of other combat sports. In the course of studies conducted by American scientists, it has been proven that the brain gets damaged long before the first symptoms appear.

Scientists have found that in boxers, over time, not only nerve cells die, but also the volume of the brain decreases. This can cause not only memory impairment, but also cause the development of other serious ailments. The head of the research group, Charles Bernik, is sure that if the medical examination of the athlete is not carried out at an early stage of the development of the disease, the situation can worsen many times over.

He conducted observations at one of the Cleveland clinics and examined about 170 athletes. As a result, Bernik stated that the first irreversible changes in the brain occur after 6 years of active engagement in this sport. If the duration of a boxer's career exceeds twelve years, then the risks increase manifold.

Note that Bernik watched not only boxers, but also representatives of other combat sports. According to the current rules in professional boxing, an athlete must undergo one medical examination without fail. Most often, it is carried out at the dawn of a career. Then the medical board has the right to send the athlete for an additional examination, but this happens quite rarely. We have already said that most diseases are latent in nature and when their symptoms appear, it may be too late to do anything.

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