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FA and PFA Commission Study on Possible Link between Football and Dementia

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FA and PFA Commission Study on Possible Link between Football and Dementia

The Football Association and the Professional Footballers Association have appointed a Glasgow based research team which will compare the prevalence of the degenerative neurocognitive disease in approximately 15,000 ex-players with that of the general population.

The study titled “Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk” will begin in January and will be led by Dr William Stewart and colleagues at the University of Glasgow and the Hampden Sports Clinic. FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn has stated that it will be “one of the most comprehensive studies ever commissioned into the long-term health of former footballers”. He added “Dementia can have a devastating effect and, as the governing body of English football, we felt compelled to commission a significant new study in order to fully understand if there are any potential risks associated with playing the game.”

The FA has been criticised over its failure to address the issue following former West Bromwich Albion striker Jeff Astle died back in 2002. Known as an exceptional header of the ball, Astle died untimely at the age of 59 of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease usually linked with boxers.

In a statement, Dr Stewart, said: “In the past decade there have been growing concerns around perceived increased risk of dementia through participation in contact sports, however, research data to support and quantify this risk have been lacking.

“Through the Field study we hope to be able to provide some understanding of the long-term health impact of football within the next two to three years.”

A recent report in the US looked into the prevalence CTE in American Football players in which 110 of 111 players who competed at the highest level where found to have symptoms of the condition.

Charles Alessi Senior Advisor and GP at Public Health England will be speaking about increasing the profile of dementia as preventative and will outline Public Health England plan to raise the profile of dementia risk factors at next year’s Long Term Conditions Conference register here to book your place.

By James Grieves