Boxing & Contact Sports...?: Hi all, Just wanted... - Headway


8,373 members10,834 posts

Boxing & Contact Sports...?


Hi all,

Just wanted your thoughts on the title?

I used to love watching boxing and contact sports but I now have a real problem with them. I can't seem to watch boxing which is a sport I used to do and love to watch but not now. When I watch 2 athletes boxing I can only think about the damage to the brain that it may be causing and how fragile the brain is. Its only since my bi Iv had tis but more recently it really churns my stomach to watch it. I suppose it natural as I myself have an abi and now with the knowledge I have on bi know the fragility of the brain and that it can be injured so easily. Could be true too regarding the value of life as mine was close to have been taken from me so you realise your not indestructible and your life can change in a second.

Has this happened to anyone else here? Nick Xx

30 Replies

I was a bit like it before my op but I'm even worse now...I just see the damage it could cause and cringe and can't watch it! You're not alone there! Even the old anadin advert on telly that they used to batter the brain with a hammer used to make my stomach churn.

Absolutely MX, I hate seeing children riding bikes without helmets too.

Janet x

Hidden in reply to Kirk5w7

Janet, I so agree with you about the children without bike helmets. My son was killed at the age of 15 because he fell off his bike and hit his head. If he had been wearing a helmet, he might have survived.

The only thing about boxing is, I suppose, that they know the risks and do it voluntarily (although I can't imagine why someone would want to submit themselves to it!!)


cat3 in reply to Hidden

I can only second what Janet has said ; I'd no idea you'd known such heartbreak. Some of us have clearly had more than our 'fair share' of sadness.

I'm really sorry to hear this Jan. Cat xx

MXman in reply to Hidden

My prayers are with you Jan for your Son.XX

randomphantoms in reply to Hidden

Jan it must have been so difficult for you. Even if helmets were being talked about I can only imagine the difficulty of trying to get a teenage boy to wear one.

Love n hugs


angelite in reply to Hidden

I am so sorry, Jan. Angela x

Julesgettingthere in reply to Hidden

Hello Jan, Jules here

I havent been on for a few days just read some items.

Can i add how sorry and i am sending you (though this computer) a little pocket of sunshine. Just dip in when you need some.

Me, my little sister and my mum are always saying that to each other by email.

My mum lives in west africa and i so miss her (even thou she moved across to there some 22 years now.

I miss her most these days when its a poignant moment in my life.

I remember when i made my first hot 'meal' by myself after the accident. I wanted fish fingers but was worried about the cooking. My mum, bless her cotton socks, actually spoke to me from Africa and guided me thou the whole process, (she made them at her home at exactly the same time as me). When we both put the fish fingers under the grill, we both said out loud 'cosmic fish fingers' !!! we have called fish fingers cosmic ever since. Its a little ray of sunshine we both share together.




Thats lovely Jules...

moo196 in reply to Kirk5w7

Or even adults without helmets these days..... I didn't use to cycle much before BI but now I try - and hated wearing helmet but know it's safer and think "if only people knew the real impact of a brain injury, they would wear one" ....

Hi Jan, so sorry to hear of your tragedy, I can only imagine the anguish you must have been through, and now this. Do take care, my thoughts are with you.

Love Janet x


I feel similar, I don't really watch boxing, but know exactly what you mean. I also can't understand why people don't make sure they have the best protection they can in whatever they do. Like riding horses or motorbikes without the correct gear. Though I suppose people could argue even with that we're putting ourselves at risk by just doing it. Not headcrelated, but I cringe at people riding motorbikes in shorts and tee shirts.

Have a great day.


I was never really into boxing, but I did have a bit of a taste for rugby, which induces massive cringes when a player goes down heavily in a tackle.

The issue that I'm more commonly exposed to is kids fighting at school, pre-BI, when I had more muscle-tone, I was one of a team who were trained to safely (as is ever possible) physically intervene to prevent children placing themselves, or others, at risk of harm. I still have a valid certificate to be able to do that, but I was more often the 'voice' than the 'muscle', I'd only go hands-on if there was no alternative.

My new manager has told me she doesn't think I should do that any more, initially stating that she meant because of my BI, and, when I corrected her assumption that I'm any more at risk from knocks to the head than anyone else, she back-tracked, and said that she didn't think women should be involved in restraint-situations. Buttons Pressed, it's not up to her perspective of what a woman 'should' do, and I'm actually better-placed to restrain than some of my stronger male colleagues, because I'm more flexible, and lighter, so less likely to injure the child, because I bend with them.

I also understand some of the more complex psychological aspects of uninvited touch in a crisis situation, but, more than anything else, I can't stand to watch kids hurting themselves, or anyone else. It is worse, post-BI, but I will always intervene where I can, placing myself, the worn-out 'adult' between children intent on causing harm when they're not thinking clearly. I bruise, and the bruises heal, I CANNOT stand by, and wait for a 'man' to come and sort out brawling kids, because I happen to be wearing a dress. Sometimes the fact that a 'woman' steps in is enough to shock the kids into stopping anyway.

MXman in reply to Gaia_rising

Too true Gaia to true. My daughter rides MX and rides well but there are people out there that don't think she should be riding let alone racing (my parents) because she's a girl, How odd is that.

I've never been interested in boxing (apart from the Mohammed Ali days, and that was more about the 'pantomime' factor. I've always been amazed by the fact that people beating each other up was even legal !

My son was savagely attacked one night, as he walked home from a restaurant with his girlfriend. After he hit the ground and lay unconscious, three yobs used his head as a football whilst another restrained his girlfriend.

He was lucky to escape with only stitches and concussion, but now when I think of organisers and managers promoting repeated blows to the head (& body) I can't make sense of why this sport is even allowed in any society ??

Oops, touched a bit of a raw nerve there Nick ! xx

MXman in reply to cat3

Me too cat can't stand the fact that these yobs think its ok to beat up a man their own age say 3 agains one let alone a pensioner. Whats wrong with these people...

RogerCMerriman in reply to MXman

They don't think at all, few years back a group of lads jumped my friends dad, he's half their size and middle aged then, but also a ex boxer, so it didn't go quite as planned!

Yep, I used to really love watching boxing. Now I can't because of the brain injury experience. Even watching soccer where they are using their heads to knock the ball gives me the "would you stop doing that" feeling. Or watching other sports events where they hit the other athletes in the head.

Hi Nick

I haven't watched boxing for a very long time.....ever since I saw a boxer drop like a stone. I knew he was seriously injured but the people I was with thought if was a simple knockout. It was the news the next day that he had died.

As for contact sports I have to admit I still enjoy watching rugby and I rationalise it by saying that the rules are in place to prevent serious injury and the amount of training reduces the risk.

Like others my biggest problem is with the non contact sports like football and anyone riding a bicycle, scooter, quad bike (basically any type of personal transport) without head protection .

I get so very angry when I see a child on a bike without a helmet and want to strangle the parents.

I am still and have always been risk averse and have difficulty trying to understand why anyone would want to put themselves in the position of taking those risks.

It's a spectrum or sliding scale isn't it? At one end you have the adrenaline junkies who have to have extreme sports to feel alive and at the other end those who are virtually phobic about risk.

Yes I do notice it more than i did and have to retreat and deal with the emotional reaction.

Love n hugs


Its so interesting isn't it. I didn't have a single thought about it before bi and would watch boxing and contact sports and be really into it. But now I just can't watch it and knowing the damage that could be going on and I can picture the brain cells and nerve endings dying and then new pathways having to be made, so strange that this is what I see not the actual boxing.

no i still love contact sports, rugby, american football ufc

Boxing has always seemed like an insane thing to start doing to me. I'm still game for other contact sports though.

Hi Nick,

I think we touched upon this before - it was the Marseille football violence footage that sparked it off for me. Never had any love for boxing - anything that deliberately targets the head/brain is a big no no for me and yes, the greater knowledge I now have does make me feel far worse about such things. I'm surprised that boxing is still getting away with being legal in these supposed 'enlightened' days ? All other sports/hobbies - precautions/protection a must ! Angela x

MXman in reply to angelite

Yes agree I just can't handle watching it now though. Makes me cringe. Happy to ride Moto Cross though but always with the right protective gear on.

Completely understandable.

I find it difficult to watch tv at all.

It feels too real. I stick with comedy or music.

Hi Nick,

I can completely relate to you here. I was a third generation amateur boxer and absolutely loved watching the sport. That ended even before my TBI as my late father, grandfather & grandmother all passed away to a spontaneous brain aneurysm. I can't stomach watching the sport knowing what we know about the vulnerability I guess of our precious brains, more so now as my brain haemorrhage was caused by trauma from a heavy fall. The heavyweights in particular sustain brutal, constant trauma every time they enter the ring. It can't be good for you.

I also have a young son who I will not be encouraging to box, I don't want him to be the fourth generation boxer. I'm sure my late father and grandfather would understand that decision had they been here when I sustained my TBI, I have no doubt.

What I would say Nick is joining a boxercise class or something very similar. Once I'm stronger and more confident that's what I'll be doing. There's no contact, obviously, and you and me know too well that any kind of boxing training is fantastic for all round fitness. I would certainly avoid a boxing club for boxercise training because as you know sparring is the norm, I wouldn't want to watch or even hear that in the background whilst training.

Anyway, not sure if that reply helped, but I understand your perspective of boxing now, and I think it's perfectly natural for our perspective to change.

All the very best,

Darren 👍

MXman in reply to Darren_Wyn

Hi Darren,

Thank you for your reply and yes it did help. I loved the fitness of boxing when I did it and also loved to watch and take part but since my bi I find it awful to watch and as you say our precious brains are so fragile even though there in a thick scull. I do a much less dangerous sport now in Moto Cross... Mmmmm don't think going to win that argument. Nick

perfectly natural reaction to be honest, I hated seeing folks on bikes on the road for a few months after my accident, I was being ridculus my accident though on a bike was slow speed tumble off road, on way to work though Bushy Park. but for quite a while I hated seeing folks riding on roads.

Boxing/contact sports and other such sports and activies have risks of,

which in many ways seems worse than sort of stuff most of us have.

But life is full of risks and humans are awful at risks we ignore huge ones and fixated on small ones etc.

MXman in reply to RogerCMerriman

Its funny as all I wanted to do while I was in hospital was get back on my bike and ride. I couldn't wait and truly thought I was ok. Little did I know then what I know now about abi and the problems I would go through. I always wanted to get back and ride and it took a while but back fully now but with a little less urgency on the track.

Couldn't agree more Roger life is full of risks and we can't live our lives always worrying about them. Nick

RogerCMerriman in reply to MXman

oh in hospital I though I'd be back to work in a day or two, and that I'd be riding my brand new MTB on the hills next week!

I went back to work a month or too later, luckly phased return even so it was too soon! The MTB I didn't ride for 5 months or so.

You may also like...