Appealing, but deadly

A sport that is not for everyone

As entertaining as boxing is, it’s really a dangerous sport. Most people don’t give it much thought because we just enjoy watching fighters go at it on screen.

I love to watch boxing. But getting into the ring and being hit upside the head multiple times constantly for years straight is something I can never see myself doing.

When I was younger, I used to watch Muhammad Ali highlights on YouTube and get inspired to box one day. That is until I’d talk to my parents to convince them to let me participate. They never allowed it.

As much as I tried convincing them, they wouldn’t budge. It was almost the same for football although I overcame that issue. Boxing was just a flat out “no” the whole time. Now that I’m older, I understand why they didn’t want their son to box and I’m glad they never let me.

According to a team of researchers in Germany, there has been an average 10 boxing-related deaths a year since 1900. Of these deaths, 80 percent were due to head and neck injuries suffered in the ring. These injuries included ruptures in brain vessels, epidural hemorrhages and subdural hematomas in which bleeding occur in the brain.

The same study, reported evidence that a chemical called neurofilament light, which is released when nerve cells are damaged, is four times higher than normal in boxers after a fight. It can be up to eight times higher when there have been more than 15 high-impact hits to the head. Although boxers can recover from some injuries, brain tissue that becomes damaged remains that way forever.

I doubt any of these concerns have ever crossed the mind of a child or teen when watching a boxing match. The reason is fans see boxers taking hits so often it looks like everything’s normal. Floyd Mayweather, for example, is 47-0. Forty-seven fights and he’s still going, no problem, right?

The thing is, these injuries don’t always pop up right after a fight. They can, and if they do, they might be deadly. But usually they occur gradually over time as a result of sustained trauma to the head.

Even Muhammad Ali, known as the greatest boxer of all time, battled health problems caused by fighting his whole life. Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984, a disease that is common in head trauma. So no matter how great the fighter, they cannot avoid injuries. It doesn’t matter how good a boxer you are, if you are in the ring taking headshots for years, chances are you will see the consequences.