Need for investigation of dementia risk in football players


The British Football Association (FA) said that a new study will determine if there is a correlation between repeated headers, and a dementia risk for former footballers.


The FA stated that the independent research study will look at what is called ‘degenerative neuro-cognitive’ disease in football players to see if repeated headings of the ball increases the chances of suffering from dementia.

The decision to start the study comes after two years of research, and after a BBC program with former British captain, Alan Shearer, who put a spotlight on the problem.

Shearer has been investigating the brain to discover if it has been damaged by all the headers.

‘It has been very nerve wracking to be tested. I have a very bad memory, but I don’t know if it’s because I’m damaged after football, or if I just remember badly,’ said Shearer in an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper.

The research will start in January, and according to FA President, Martin Glenn, it will be the most comprehensive study ever about the long-term health of football players.

Shearer believes science is lacked when it comes to a possible connection between football and brain injury.

‘There hasn’t been enough research on this. The authorities have been very reluctant to find answers. It has become swept under the rug, and it’s not good enough. The FA must take care of older players with dementia, instead of sending them to the scrap yard’, said the former Blackburn and Newcastle star.

47 year old Shearer scored 260 goals in the Premier League. He is the most successful player in the English game. 46 of them came from headers.

‘For every goal I scored with my head, I must have done the same exercise 1000 times in training. It must put me at risk if there is a connection between headers and dementia,’Shearer told the newspaper.

The project will be conducted at the University of Glasgow, and Hampden Sports Clinic.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today