As much as I love Netflix and Stan (oftentimes just replaying LFE-heavy movie scenes that shake my sofa and rattle my windows), there are times when I go random on Youtube. I usually just scroll through and find titles that interest me. This time it’s Tom Bilyeu’s Health Theory, the episode with Dr. Daniel Amen.
If you’re like me, chances are you haven’t heard of Dr. Daniel Amen. So let me do the Googling for you. According to danielamenmd.com, and I’m assuming he owns this website, “Dr. Amen is one of America’s leading psychiatrists and brain health experts. He has authored or coauthored 80 professional articles and more than 40 books, including New York Times mega-bestseller Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. He has appeared on numerous television shows including Dr. Phil, Larry King, Dr. Oz, The Doctors, and The View.” — looks consistent with my other searches so we’ll leave it at that.
Contact Sports and Cocaine
One of the first points that got my attention was his stand on contact sports and how it affects the brain. It’s no secret though, we all know Muhammad Ali and his battle with Parkinson’s disease. The great Freddie Roach has the same sickness to this day. A number of retired boxers and MMA fighters, if not most, are having slurred speeches. And though I know nothing about NFL and AFL, I have read some stories on concussion issues among their athletes as well.
As his story goes, there’s this billionaire who hired an NFL coach to train his son, because his son really loves football. Dr. Amen replied, “Well if he told you he really wanted to do cocaine, would you go get him a dealer?” Because it’s the same thing, he said. He then proceeded with, “Contact sports damage the brain about the same as cocaine.”
Alarming, if you ask me. The more intriguing thing is, Dr. Daniel Amen did mention football (not sure if he’s actually referring to soccer) as an example, that hitting the ball with your head could hurt the frontal lobe and shut down the cerebellum. Whatever that means, it sounds scary. If a soccer ball can do that, imagine a boxer who literally takes more than a hundred punches to the face in a single 12-round fight. Not to mention the power shots loaded with bad intentions, a.k.a. the I will KYTFO punch.
As a big boxing and MMA fan, I have long envisioned myself training with my kid(s) one day. And someday, if she wants, maybe she can compete at an amateur level, or even turn pro.
Though we already know the dangers of contact sports, especially combat related ones, Dr. Amen’s remarks definitely give us something more to think about. However, it shouldn’t stop us from encouraging our kids to learn martial arts or engage in other contact sports like football.
All risks considered, there’s so much more to contact sports than just brute strength and injuries. Boxing for example, is not all about breaking people’s eye sockets and knocking people out. It’s the art and the discipline that real fans appreciate. If you think about it, some of the most epic fights ended in a decision.
Now that I know this, will I introduce MMA and the likes to my daughter? Maybe not yet. Or maybe not at all. I’ll see how it goes. For now, I’m happy to see her having fun with ballet on weekends. Mom wins again.
- This blog’s focus is merely a fraction of the whole interview. There are so much more to learn from that so if you want, here’s the link.
- His book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, sounds interesting. I may just buy it. If you plan on getting one as well, you can buy it from Amazon, here.
Just For Fun
Dr. Amen has this brainhealthassessment.com. It’s a short quiz designed to get a snapshot of what brain type you fall under. Try it, just for fun.
Here’s what I got. Totally agree with the last two points. Nailed it.