Pacquiao could end up like Ali, say PGH docs

By Niña Corpuz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2012 04:33 PM | Updated as of Dec 12 2012 12:33 AM

MANILA - Manny Pacquiao could end up like Muhammad Ali who suffers from Parkinson's Disease.

Two brain doctors from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) are worried about Manny Pacquiao's health due to several head traumas he has accumulated through years of boxing.

PGH Neurologist Dr. Michelle Anlacan said Pacquiao suffered a concussion when he was knocked out by Marquez last Sunday (Saturday in Las Vegas).

A concussion can cause someone to temporary lose consciousness after being hit in the head. "Panandaliang tumigil ang function sa brain, pero babalik din sa normal," said Dr. Anlacan.

But PGH neuro surgeon Dr. Ibet Sih said that even if Pacquiao regained his consciousness, it does not mean he is already spared from future damage to the brain. "Hindi porket gumising, ok na."

Dr. Anlacan said Pacquiao's CT scan and MRI may be normal now, but there are cases where it may take years or even decades for diseases like Parkinson's to show up, as in the case of Ali or even Pacquiao's coach Freddie Roach.

"Yung paulit ulit na suntok sa utak ay pwedeng magdulot ng pinsala na cumulative, minsan dekada bago lumabas yung symptoms ng Parkinson's," said dr. Anlacan.

Parkinson's is a brain disorder that causes someone to lose his memory and motor skills.

Worse, this could lead to dementia, a more severe loss of brain function that affects memory and thinking.

Pacquiao is at risk because of his sport, boxing, is the leading cause of acquired Parkinson's when it comes to sports, next is mixed martial arts, muai thai, football and soccer.

But the doctors also clarified not all boxers will end up with brain injuries or illnesses.

If Pacquiao continues to fight, he also raises his risks of suffering from traumatic brain injuries like brain swelling or blood clot in the brain like what happened to Z Gorres.

Gorres suffered brain swelling and became comatose. Fortunately, he woke up but the injury ended his boxing career. Still, others were not so lucky; there have been cases where young Pinoy boxers were knocked out and died because of injuries to the brain.