Support was provided by PRIN 2007 MIUR grant. Thanks to M. Di Serafino for his contributions to subject recruitment.
Sport is not always healthy: Executive brain dysfunction in professional boxers
Article first published online: 22 DEC 2009
Copyright © 2009 Society for Psychophysiological Research
Volume 47, Issue 3, pages 425–434, May 2010
How to Cite
Di Russo, F. and Spinelli, D. (2010), Sport is not always healthy: Executive brain dysfunction in professional boxers. Psychophysiology, 47: 425–434. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2009.00950.x
- Issue published online: 6 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 22 DEC 2009
- (Received April 22, 2009; Accepted June 17, 2009)
- Brain trauma;
- Executive control;
We measured ERPs of professional boxers in a Go/No-Go task, comparing them to fencers and non-athletes. Results showed that fencing improved attention and motor response control, but boxing did not. More strikingly, in boxers, as in brain trauma patients, the P3 component was delayed and reduced. The P3 delay of boxers was correlated with the amount of performed sport exercise. Furthermore, in terms of behavior, boxers showed increased intra-individual variability and switch cost. Results were consistent with the hypothesis of specific impairment at the level of response inhibition processing. We suggest that this impairment is derived from the cumulative effect of blows to the head. The changes found in boxers suggest that ERPs and reaction times may be a tool for early detection of specific brain dysfunction.