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Former Olympic gold medallist and Super Heavyweight boxer, Audley Harrison has announced his retirement from the sport due to concerns about the impact upon his health. He confirms that he has sustained a number of injuries to the brain as a result of competing at this level and it seems that these continue to have an impact on his life. This is a further example of the increased awareness of the impact of brain injuries and concussion within sport.
This comes a month after a boxer from Hull was forced to retire from the sport at the age of 23 after sustaining a serious brain injury during a fight. Rather than just one forceful blow being responsible for the injury, his view was that the series of blows received throughout the fight had a snowball type effect which could have had a devastating impact.
Boxing has long been a contentious sport attracting divided views. However there is no getting away from the fact that head injuries of varying severity are somewhat of an occupational hazard. It has previously been stated that the force of a professional boxer’s fist is equivalent to that of a 13 pound bowling ball travelling at 20mph.
Audley Harrison has indicated that as a result of such injuries he now suffers with sight problems, balance difficulties and mood swings, all of which can be indicators of brain injury and all too often the more subtle effects can be overlooked or ignored in pursuit of the glory of sporting success. It is hoped that Audley’s comments will further increase the understanding of such hidden injuries and their impact.
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