A new study by the American Journal Of Epidemiology hopes to define the long-term effects of repeated head trauma in professional fighters.
The study, lead by Dr. Charles Bernick, has collected over 400 boxers and martial arts fighters to participate in the research.
"The focus of the study is the long-term consequences of getting shots to the head over and over again," said Bernick.
One fighter, Brett Rather, was a champion fighter for 13 years until he started suffering side effects from constantly getting knocked out.
"I just kind of felt like a zombie, if you will. I was walking around, throwing punches not really knowing I was there," said Rather. "Nobody ever talks about that, you know. You get knocked out, you wake up, throw up in the garbage can, you go home."
Dr. Bernick says athletes often suffer from behavioral problems such as forgetfulness and mood swings. This study will isolate those instances and try to describe a correlation to the head injuries.
Doctors will examine fighters of all ages for at least five years. They hope to find data that helps them identify early signs of permanent brain damage.
Frank Slaughter has trained several professional fighters and is encouraging many of them to participate in the study. He believes their health is more important than any title or prize.