Mike Tyson receives second brain injury warning ahead of Mike Tyson fight | Boxing | Sport

Mike Tyson receives second brain injury warning ahead of Mike Tyson fight | Boxing | Sport

Mike Tyson continues to receive brain trauma warnings from sports doctors worldwide ahead of his Netflix boxing live-stream special against Jake Paul on July 20. Among the concerned professionals is Nathan Howarth, Development and Operations Director at the Concussion Legacy Foundation UK. 

Howarth highlighted the potential dangers Tyson faces if he follows through with the fight, emphasising the severe risks associated with brain injuries and the long-term impact on Tyson’s health. The once-youngest heavyweight champion ever will be 58 years old when he faces Paul, the 27-year-old social media star turned professional boxer. 

According to Howarth, research shows that prolonged exposure to head impacts heightens the risk of conditions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy [CTE.] “We know your exposure to head impacts increases your risk of things like chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The first reported cases from boxing are from the 1930s, and we still see that in terms of boxing’s risk to CTE, and it’s no secret that there is an element of neurodegeneration,” he said. “There’s no definitive of what the risks would be but as someone who is 57, there’s clearly going to be a risk in terms of that age profile of potentially having more of an impact for someone who’s older.”

At 57, Tyson’s age profile puts him at potentially greater risk due to changes in neurochemistry and neurobiology affecting how his brain recovers from such events. The preparation for the fight alone at Tyson’s age could impact his reaction time, which naturally decreases with age but could be further affected by years of exposure to impact. 

Tyson’s admission during the press conference that his intense training was taking a toll on his body raised concerns among fans. Even before this, his decision to switch to a diet of raw meat in preparation for the battle had sparked worries about his well-being. His candid acknowledgment of his body breaking down added another layer of concern. Fellow boxer and star of Creed Tony Bellew said that Netflix doesn’t care about Tyson or his health after all parties agreed to make the fight a professional contest. 

Howarth emphasized to Betway that concussions are unique to each individual and event, making it unclear whether one would last longer due to Tyson’s age. But he pointed out that Tyson might experience a concussion and feel fine initially, but the subclinical impacts of the damage could be significant.

“Concussions as a brain injury are unique to any individual and unique to any event. It would be unclear to say that it would last longer because of his age but you could say it is potentially more likely or could be worse because of his age. Then again, he may experience a concussion and be completely fine but not necessarily know the impacts of the subclinical impacts of the damage it may have done,” he continued.

“People who participate in boxing need to be aware of the potential risks and for somebody who is almost 60, you can’t imagine it will have a positive effect on his brain and health either way whether a concussion lasts or resolves in the standard window of 21 days to completely return to sport. Even then, there might be some consequences for them.”

Howarth also highlighted that exposure to head impacts increases a fighter’s risk of developing CTE, not only during fights but also in preparation for them. Tyson’s comprehensive record of 50 wins, six losses, and 44 knockouts underscores the frequency of his exposure to head impacts throughout his career. 

Tyson himself previously disclosed that he would spar eight rounds in training camps before fights with various partners and then increase to 12 rounds on fight night. This practice illustrates how often Tyson has engaged in sparring sessions and faced head impacts outside official pay-per-view fight nights.

Art Kramer, professor of psychology and founding director of the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern University, along with Stephen Hughes, senior lecturer in medicine at Anglia Ruskin University, has been vocal about the risk of suffering a subdural hematoma, which involves the tearing of veins in the brain. The concern was particularly heightened due to Tyson’s age and history as a recovering alcoholic, factors that potentially increase his risk of such serious injuries.

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