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Thread: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bombings

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    The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bombings

    Tamerlan Tsarnaev is telling no tales. The older of the two brothers who committed the Boston Marathon bombings was likely the one who planned the attack, but when he died in a shootout with police just days after the blasts, his thoughts and motivations vanished with him. But the brain that was home to his angry mind remains, and in this case that may mean something.

    Tsarnaev was an amateur boxer who won the New England Golden Gloves competition as recently as 2009 and 2010. That speaks to a young man with a healthy sense of discipline and focus, and if he had a violent streak, it was violence well-channeled. But his sport of choice suggests the possibility of something else too: traumatic brain injury. As the National Football League and other pro sports increasingly reckon with the early dementia, mental health issues, suicides and even criminal behavior of former players, the risk of what’s known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), is becoming clear. Roughly 4,000 former NFL players and 2,000 of their spouses are currently suing the league, claiming that the perils of head injuries were never explained to them and, indeed, that the players were pushed to get back on the field even when it was clear that they had suffered concussions.

    It was inevitable, then that questions would be raised about whether Tsarnaev’s brain may have been similarly traumatized during the years he boxed, and if there had indeed been damage, did that spark his murderous behavior? The answer is a likely yes to the first part and a likely no to the second.
    I understand that they are trying to figure out why Tsarnaev and his brother committed the bombings in Boston, but trying to tie the whole ordeal to boxing seems a bit far fetched. Take a look.

    Read more: A Bomber's Brain: Did Boxing Help Cause the Boston Terror? | TIME.com

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    Re: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bomb

    It's not like Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the first boxer in history. If it was about boxing, Muhammad Ali would have bombed something years ago.


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    Re: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bomb

    Time, once again jumping the shark. The Fonz would be proud.

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    Re: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bomb

    zealotry was the likely cause, as is nearly always the case. in this instance, it was religion, but zealotry is not confined to religion.

    as for whether the zealotry was initiated or amplified by the brain injury, more data would be required to support that conclusion. I admit that the thought did cross my mind, though.

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    Re: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bomb

    I think there's plenty of evidence the zealotry existed in the family before he began boxing.

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    Re: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket88 View Post
    It's not like Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the first boxer in history. If it was about boxing, Muhammad Ali would have bombed something years ago.
    What a dumb comment.

    The same experience can affect different people in different ways. This is true for many things including brain damage. This is why 100 football players can get hit in the head for their entire career, 90 of them will come out fine and 10 of them will come out with brain damage that causes neurological disorders, violence, depression or other problems.

    The same is true for boxing. It is possible that brain damage from boxing could have impacted Tamerlan's decision-making process. Such damage would not have been the only, or even the main, factor contributing to his behavior. Nonetheless, to diminish the potential that brain damage had an influence because boxers don't consistently bomb things is such an intellectually weak and preposterous argument.

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    Re: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by aseidner View Post
    I understand that they are trying to figure out why Tsarnaev and his brother committed the bombings in Boston, but trying to tie the whole ordeal to boxing seems a bit far fetched. Take a look.

    Read more: A Bomber's Brain: Did Boxing Help Cause the Boston Terror? | TIME.com
    It's possible that brain damage from boxing was a contributing factor. It could have intensified his reactions to problems he perceived or distorted his ability to rationally problem solve or it could have made him more susceptible to dangerous influences. Regardless, such violent behavior is usually the result of a "perfect storm" of a variety of factors.

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    Re: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket88 View Post
    It's not like Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the first boxer in history. If it was about boxing, Muhammad Ali would have bombed something years ago.
    Or George Foreman would've bombed at some point...



    oh...

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    Re: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bomb

    The elder brother was a boxer. The younger brother was not but was a more than willing participant.

    This alone tells me that the premise is seriously flawed.
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    Re: The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused By Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    It's possible that brain damage from boxing was a contributing factor. It could have intensified his reactions to problems he perceived or distorted his ability to rationally problem solve or it could have made him more susceptible to dangerous influences. Regardless, such violent behavior is usually the result of a "perfect storm" of a variety of factors.
    Perhaps it was a contributing factor, but the question in my mind is: Did brain damage alter his thought patterns to make him more violent and more susceptible to buying into extremist ideologies instead of being rational, or was he just a violent person to begin with and boxing was just an outlet for this violent tendency? I think it would be interesting if they examined his brain to search for evidence of encephalopathy related to boxing.

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