Scientists warn amateur boxers that they are double-exposing to dementia risk

  • Researchers called for boxing to ban head punches due to brain injuries.
  • The warning was made that amateur boxers were at double the risk of developing dementia.
  • Studies will continue to add evidence that links sport and dementia
  • Both Sir Bobby Charlton (footballer) and Nobby Styles (footballer) both succumbed to the disease.

Scientists have warned that amateur boxers run twice as high a risk of developing dementia than professional fighters.

For brain injury prevention, the group called for bans on punches at the head.

Cardiff University’s research was inspired by the health records 1123 Caerphilly men. 

A third of those who boxed serious showed signs and symptoms of dementia between 75-89. 

This increased their likelihood of experiencing some degree of cognitive impairment compared to non-fighters and made them three times more susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s symptoms. 

Scientists warned amateur boxers that they are at twice the risk for dementia. They called for bangs on the head to reduce the number of brain injuries. Stock image

Published in Clinical Sports Medicine, the study will further support mounting evidence of the connection between sports and dementia.

In a significant study, two years back, it was found that footballers had three times the chance of dying from dementia.

It was contracted by several prominent players, including Nobby Styles and Sir Bobby Charlton from England’s winning 1966 World Cup squad.

England introduced new guidelines this year that limit the use headers during football training. Children under twelve years old are also prohibited from heading the ball.

Yesterday’s boxing research looked at 1,123 Caerphilly men who had been followed for 35+ years. 73 of them were known to have boxed seriously when younger. 

Researchers found that the time it took for dementia to develop in those who were active as children was five years earlier among men who have boxed than the average age of people who never did so.

A 20019 study found footballers are three times more likely to die from dementia. Players from England's 1966 squad, including Sir Bobby Charlton (pictured in 2014), developed the disease

The 20019 study showed that footballers are three-times more likely to succumb to dementia. The disease was first discovered in 1966 England footballers, which included Sir Bobby Charlton (pictured 2014).

Prof. Peter Elwood, the lead author of this article said that while professional boxing has been shown to inflict chronic traumatic brain injuries (CTBI), there is little or no research done on it. 

“Our study provides evidence that amateur boxing can be linked to a long-term, clinically-measurable brain injury. It could also manifest as early-onset Alzheimer’s-like impairment. 

“The chances of serious brain injury have decreased over the years due to tighter control in amateur boxing, including shorter bouts and compulsory headgear. But there are still long-term effects of boxing. 

“Banning blows on the head” would be acceptable as a preventive measure. This would not affect the competitive nature of the sport, but it would still preserve the unquestionable physical and social benefits. 

“Millions of people have dementia. The links between the devastating illness and contact sports are now being discovered.

“Further research is essential in this area so we can implement simple measures now in order to preserve the health and well-being of future generations.”