Does Boxing Make You Dumber & Decrease IQ? (Explained)

does boxing make you dumber

Most of us have come across people who do want to start boxing, however, are too afraid of the consequences. One of them is the fear that boxing makes people dumb. 

We certainly understand that fear. Obviously, you’re gonna get lots of knockout blows, concussions, or head trauma in general. And that makes you worry about your intelligence. The question may pop up in your mind; does boxing make you dumber or does boxing decrease IQ?

Boxing does not exactly make you dumber but it does affect your brain functioning overall. It can slow down your cognitive abilities such as speech. It can also affect your mood and personality. If you are not doing aggressive consecutive punches, your brain is OK. 

Repeated blows and hits to the head can cause a lot of trauma to your brain. Moreover, you’ll also damage the neurons and that will result in compromised brain activity. 

And by compromised brain function, I mean you might experience a slower response time, trouble in speech, disturbed cognitive abilities, or some long-term brain ailments. 

So, the bottom line is, that boxing cannot make you dumb but it does negatively affect your brain in one way or the other.

How Bad is Boxing For Your Brain?

If you’re about to start boxing training, you should know the answer to this query; How bad is boxing for your brain?

Well honestly, boxing is really bad for your brain. No matter how big of a boxing enthusiast you are, you will agree with that. Boxing can become a cause of quite a lot of acute as well as long-term neurological problems. 

If you want to avoid the negative effects of boxing, you should not go too aggressive in your shots. It’s hard to keep your temperament cool when you’re hitting. However, it is possible to keep the game practices restricted to a game world away from the real world.

Five Serious Side Effects of Boxing on Brain

If you think boxing is 100% safe for your intellect and brain, you are wrong. There are many proven side effects of this game recorded so far on the brain. Let’s check out the brief details of the negative effects of boxing:

#1. Brain Trauma

Every time you get hit on your head, the brain goes through a lot of trauma despite being submerged in a protective fluid. High impact punches are really harmful and destroy/damage neurons permanently. Consequently, this leads to certain neurological problems.

#2. Long term consequences 

Secondly, repeated blows inflict long-term damage to your brain. If not today, then surely some other day you’ll see the consequences of boxing on your brain. Even if you’ve discontinued boxing, the impact of the punches that you received over the years will eventually inhibit your brain function.

#3. Concussions

Concussions are yet another horrible consequence of boxing. Repeated concussions or knockout blows definitely add up to long-term damage to the brain. 

#4. Neurological Disorders 

Some disorders that are relatively higher in ratio among boxers include dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or punch drunk syndrome, to name a few.

#5. Speech Impact

Boxing can slow down your speaking power. When you punch or hit continuously your brain energy is utilized in the workout. The rest of the energy is not enough to initiate sensible speech. You might have noticed insensible aggressive notes of boxers for the same reason.

Does Boxing Decrease IQ?

If you’re worried about your intellect along with boxing, you must know the answer to this question; does boxing decrease IQ?

Well, yes and no, both. It is generally believed that boxing does not make you dumb or decrease your IQ. However, there is evidence that it can slow down the learning process and speaking ability. 

Of course, during boxing, you endure punches, blows, and whatnot. So some kind of damage is bound to happen. After continuous boxing for years, you will most likely experience a hindrance in your brain function. 

A Study by AIMC

A study was conducted by AIMC to find out the effect of boxing on human IQ. The study did find a lower IQ among children who were into boxing for 5 years. 

According to the director of AIMC, “the group of child boxers with more than 5 years of experience had an average IQ of 88, ten points lower than standard IQ levels.” (Source)

However, there’s a lack of research and study regarding the effect of boxing on human IQ which is why we cannot say anything for sure. 

does boxing lower iq

Does Every Boxer Get Brain Damage?

After reading scary facts about boxing, you might be curious to know; does every boxer get brain damage?

A significant percentage of boxers experience some kind of brain damage at some point in their life. According to certain studies, around 40 to 60 percent of boxers develop a chronic brain disorder as a consequence of repeated concussions or brain trauma.

So it won’t be wrong to say that almost every boxer gets some minor or major brain damage.

Does Boxing at Amateur Non-Competitive Level Cause Brain Damage?

Beginners do boxing at an amateur non-competitive level. Some boxers even after getting trai up don’t adopt this game at the competitive level. The question here is; does boxing at an amateur non-competitive level cause brain damage?

The amount of brain damage depends a lot on the intensity of your sparring or boxing sessions. Usually, amateur non-competitive level boxing does not result in brain damage. 

During this type of boxing, the boxers are trained well enough to dodge heavy blows and use an intelligent defense system by limiting the amount of head contact. This is why most serious amateur boxers playing at a non-competitive level do not face any serious brain damage.

However, in professional boxing, where the primary goal is a knockout, you simply cannot avoid those terrible hits. So professional boxing will definitely lead to brain damage. 

Table of Showing the Sports with the Most Head Injuries:

SportNumber of head Injuries
Cycling/Biking 85,00
Football47,000
Baseball/Softball38,500
Basketball34,500
Water Sports (Tubing, Skiing, Diving, Swimming, etc)28,500
Recreational Vehicle Use (ATV, Go Karts, etc)26,500
Soccer24,000
Skateboards/Scooter23,000
Health Club Activities/Fitness18,000
Winter Sports – (Skiing, Sledding, Snowboarding)17,000
via – drdavidchangmd.com

Do Boxers Get Long-Term Brain Damage?

There are many types of boxers, non-competitive, beginner, amateur, and professional boxers. The brain damage of each level or type varies. Non-competitive boxers face zero brain damage. Let’s know; Do boxers get long-term brain damage?

Yes, it is highly likely for a professional boxer to experience long-term brain damage. Chronic neurological injuries most commonly known as punch drunk syndrome are very common among boxers.

However, the amount of risk varies from person to person. The length of one’s career, performance, amount of bouts, and type of acute injuries impact the risk of long-term brain damage to a great extent.

Is Boxing Worth the Risk? 

No doubt boxing has many risks associated with it. You can minimize the risk level by adopting safety measures and tips. Is boxing worth the risk?

If you’re a hard-core boxing enthusiast, you’d love to take all the risks. There’s no denying that boxing results in terrible injuries. You’ll be signing up for both acute and chronic neurological injuries resulting from lots of brain trauma. 

At some point, most people want to give up and the majority of them do. But if you’ve weighed the pros and cons of boxing for yourself, then it is you who’s going to decide if boxing is worth the risk or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Boxing Lower Your IQ?

Yes or No both. It does lower your IQ if you are hit on the head or get brain trauma. It also slows down your intellect if you are into competitive-level boxing with consecutive shots and few safety measures. However, it does not affect your intellect if you do it as noncompetitive boxing.

Do Boxers Have a High IQ?

Unfortunately No, boxers have a low IQ an average of 78. According to reports, the estimated IQ of renowned boxer Muhammad Ali is 85, while Mike Tyson has 78.  One more thing that lowers IQ in boxing is brain trauma or injury. 

Does Boxing Affect The Brain?

Yes, it does depend on which type of boxing you love. Obviously, it affects the brain if you are a professional boxer. However, it is likely to have no side effects on beginners and amateur boxers. Daily sparring is thought to lower memory and communication. 

Is it easy to get brain damage from boxing?

Yes, it is quite easy in routine sparring and professional boxing to get brain damage. However, amateur or non-competitive boxers have a 13% chance of receiving brain trauma. To keep your brain healthy with boxing, change your focus from consecutive punching.

Final Thoughts

Finally, boxing is healthy for the body but unhealthy for the brain. If you want to be a professional boxer, you should go to a Neurologist for a motor abilities checkup regularly. It can affect the brain both directly and indirectly. The direct effect results in brain trauma, while indirect effects include memory loss, mood disorder,  personality disorder, IQ problems, communication issues, and motor abilities. 

The only way to avoid brain damage in boxing is to use safety head gadgets. If your head is safe, your brain will also be safe.

James Randolph

Hey, boxer Randolph is here. Who love to do boxing and I have been practicing fighting since I was a teenager. I already competed in a few professional fights, and currently training hard to make it to the top.

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