Boxing lowers life expectancy, a sports study reveals

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A STUDY investigating the relationship between sport and life expectancy has found that boxers are likely to live five years less than average.

Conducting the research, Compare the Market compared life expectancies between elite athletes across ten different sports.

In all bar one discipline, athlete lifespans were lengthened, with boxing providing to be the exception.

Boxer life expectancy is lower than average - Research News
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Figures were compared to the global life expectancy average, which is currently 72.6 years, with causes of death also taken into consideration.

Findings showed that boxers could expect to live to 67.7 years old, a full five years less than the general population.

Approximately one in five of boxer deaths could be linked to head trauma, which the study presumed would have occurred during their sporting careers.

However, some studies some studies suggest that this figure could be as high as 22.9% of professional boxers.

Professor Alan Pearce, Director of NeuroSports Labs and Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University commented on the findings.

He said: “When it comes to boxing, it’s likely that this data reflects an effect of the accumulation of multiple bodily injuries, particularly impacts to the brain, during competitive boxing over their lifetime.

“There’s no doubt that repetitive head knocks are associated with cognitive impairment, early onset dementia, and therefore contributing to reduced life expectancy.”

Across boxing, football, American football, cricket, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, hockey and rugby, tennis was found to increase life expectancy the most, standing at 80.4 years.

Data from 1,000 professional athletes was used in the research.

Head trauma was also associated with causes of death for 17.2% of the football sample, whilst in all other sports the figure was lower than 10%.