EVENT: Mrs Gandhi (left) with Muhammad Ali
IN all the eulogies to muhammad ali, there has been very little said about whether his Parkinson’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in 1984, was caused by the multiple head injuries he sustained during his boxing career.
The findings are apparently not conclusive because other factors, such as environment or genetics, can also trigger the disease.
however, according to marie-Francoise Chesselet, professor of neurology at UCl a with several papers on Par- kinson’s, there are studies “that show a severe traumatic brain injury can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease later in life”.
Teaching children to box at school might well be character forming. But there is also some- thing deeply troubling about the spectacle of heavyweight boxing.
ali himself said: “Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beating each other up.”
I am amused to see lord Swraj Paul took ali to India in 1980.
Swraj tells me: “This was after mrs (Indira) Gandhi won the elections in 1980 – no one thought she would. I read about muhammad ali in a newspaper and on the spur of the mo- ment I asked him. The theme was, ‘The great- est comes to see the greatest.’ They got on very well together.”