Does Boxing Make You Dumber and Decreases IQ?

Most of us have come across people who do want to start boxing, however, are too afraid of the consequences. One of them being 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. 

I’m afraid your concern is not completely absurd. While boxing may not exactly make you dumber but it does affect your brain functioning overall. 

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 a 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, 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?

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. 

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.

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.


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

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.

Does Boxing Decrease IQ?

Well, yes and no, both. It is generally believed that boxing does not make you dumb or decrease your IQ. 

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 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?

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 defence system by limiting the amount of head contact. This is why most serious amateur boxers playing at 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. 

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, type of acute injuries impact the risk of long term brain damage to a great extent.

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.

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By Hammad

A Boxing Enthusiast.

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