Brain Damage and Fighting

Medical experts are examining what happens to the brains of boxers and martial arts fighters. The longer these people fight, the greater the brain damage. The study is designed to find the "threshold effect" so they can sideline a fighter before the worst happens.

And this is surprising news? I don't understand how anyone could possibly expect good health for people who repeatedly get punched or kicked in the head.

Given all this, should Christians support these sports or not? What do you think?


"*As a by the way, I was pleased to find that a woman's sabre gold medalist lives near my home."

It is an irrelevant point to this thread but highly amusing to bring up, that Mariel Zagunis' last name actually begins with "Z"...
I will wait to comment until after I see Jason Bruce's response. ;)
Boxing as a "sport" is gross. I get no enjoyment watching two people punch each other hoping to knock each other out. On the other hand, learning how to defend one's self in a physical fight has it's merits. Not that I have learned this skill myself... :\
My perspective
Before offering my thoughts, I want to ground my comments in my professional background. I am a clinical neuropsychologist, so my job involves evaluating brain functioning in the presence of suspected damage. Therefore, I have evaluated numerous people with concussions, sports-related and otherwise.

I am of the opinion that Christians should not explicitly support these sports. It seems to me there is a distinct dishonoring of the body when one intentionally beats it up. Having said that, I do not think we should necessarily work to outlaw or limit these sports, but rather work toward education about the damaging effects.

I know of several friends who are very much in support of these activities. Indeed, there are some churches and pastors who seem to use mixed martial arts and boxing as ways to draw people in. I think this level of support is misguided. The mentality that says, "yeah, well, there are worse things" seems to miss the point.
Honestly I am at least dubious about the idea. Boxing isn't simply a pleasant display of martial prowess like fencing*. It is an actual blood sport. A large part of the fun of boxing is seeing people get beat up.

*As a by the way, I was pleased to find that a woman's sabre gold medalist lives near my home.

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