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Damage: The Untold Story of Brain Trauma in Boxing

BOSTON (July 5, 2022) -- Shortlisted for the 2021 William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, Damage: The Untold Story of Brain Trauma in Boxing, is now out in paperback. Written by noted boxing journalist and author, Tris Dixon, the book covers the old story: A fighter gains fame, drives fast cars, makes piles of cash, and dates beautiful women—then comes the inevitable fall that leads to booze, drugs, depression, poverty, and illness. This dark and repetitive narrative has been playing out for a hundred years.

The book focuses on “Punch Drunk Syndrome,” first discovered by doctors in 1928, which later became known as “Dementia Pugilistica.” Today, we call it Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. The secret history of this disease in boxing has never been fully told―until now.

In Damage (, Dixon uncovers the difficult truths of boxing and CTE and chronicles the lives of fighters affected by it. He interviews some of the sport’s biggest names—including George Foreman, Freddie Roach, and Micky Ward—to try to understand why no one wants to discuss CTE or take responsibility for it. Ultimately, Dixon takes aim at what boxing can do to help the warriors who sacrifice their health seeking glory in the ring. Will this book finally drive the sport to address the issue and help fighters get the help they deserve?


“Anyone who loves boxing—even the sport's most die-hard supporters—must take a longer and more serious look at the issues that Tris Dixon writes about with such nuance and humanity in Damage.”—Greg Bishop, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated

“Dixon [has] published an important book about boxing, one that all boxing fans should read, precisely because some of them may find that it affects their fandom.” —Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker

“Dixon is a man of strong principles and a journalist of high standing in the sport…[he] is the author of perhaps the most important book the fight game has ever seen…Damage is wonderfully written and contains some sumptuous storytelling.” —Matt Christie, Boxing News

"Damage isn't merely excellent or overdue; it should be mandatory reading for anyone who claims to care about boxing. With deep research and dogged reporting, Tris Dixon has managed to remain both clear-headed and compassionate."—Mark Kriegel, ESPN commentator, author of The Good Son: The Life of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini.

“Aaron Pryor's cautionary tale is told in Tris Dixon’s fascinating new book, Damage: The Untold Story of Brain Trauma in Boxing...Dixon’s disturbing book ensures boxing no longer has any excuse."―Dave Hannigan, The Irish Times

"[Damage], a harrowing book on the long-term effects of brain injury in the ring, is the wake-up call the sport needs...Four years in the making, [Tris Dixon's] book should be essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in boxing."―Mark Gallagher, The Irish Mail on Sunday

"This is a book that should be required reading for anyone involved in boxing. It’s not an easy read, and upon finishing it, you may look at the sport in a different way. But that’s necessary."―Thomas Gerbasi, The Ring


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