Muhammad Ali, the much-loved and fondly remembered boxer from back in the day, may not have contracted Parkinson’s Disease as a result of his illustrious boxing career.
Ali, who is considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all time, has been suffering with the neurological syndrome since the mid-80’s.
While it’s always been assumed that the boxing is the main contributing factor, the Medical Director of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Centre, Dr. Abraham Lieberman, recently told reporters recently that it is not possible to be sure there is a link between boxing and Parkinson’s.
As per a recent interview with BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek program, Dr. Lieberman said, “It’s only over the last 10 years that he’s had a lot of trouble walking, with falls. So his course has been more that of typical Parkinson’s Disease. If you look at the MRI of his brain it looks pretty good but it’s very difficult to factor in what sort of role did boxing play. People ask me about this and I tell them: look at George Foreman. He boxed longer than Muhammad did, took many more blows to the head and he’s on television selling his cookware. I think that he (Ali) has typical Parkinson’s Disease. Did the boxing contribute? I don’t know. It may have.”
According to Dr. Lieberman, Cassius Clay, which was Ali’s name before he converted to Islam, there is no need for alarm concerning Muhammad Ali’s health at the moment, despite some reports in the media suggesting the opposite.
As the doctor said during the Five Live interview, “He’s had Parkinson’s since about 1984, that’s almost 30 years, that’s a long time in Parkinson’s. He’s in good spirits, he has some trouble walking but overall for having had Parkinson’s for 30 years, he’s doing okay.”
Moreover, as far as Dr. Lieberman is concerned, most people who suffer from Parkinson’s don’t actually die from the disease,
“How do people with Parkinson’s Disease die? They don’t die of Parkinson’s Disease, they develop trouble swallowing and they develop pneumonia and he doesn’t have trouble swallowing. They fall, they bang their head – his family takes extraordinary care of him.”