Recent studies revealed that the likelihood for footballers to suffer from form dementia or any other form of neurological disease later on in life is much higher than for the people living in general society. The Footballers Association recognizes these studies yet also stated that the findings aren’t providing enough evidence to change any aspects of the sports again. Still, they will be funding further research into the concern.
Recent studies showed that former footballers have three and a half times more the likelihood of suffering from dementia or any other neurological disease at a later stage of life. When these results are broken down into more detail, it indicates a five-time higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease, four times for Motor Neuron Disease and twice for Parkinson’s disease. These studies done by the Glasgow Brain Injury Group Research Group over 22 months included 7 676 former male players born between 1900 and 1976 compared to 23 000 people from the general population.
The Quest for Answers
The daughter of Jeff Astle, the former striker for England who passed away in 2002, is only one of the many family members who are pushing for further research in the matter in order to not only get answers concerning the deaths of their loved ones, but also to get the FA to change certain aspects of play to reduce this. Astle’s injury was described by the coroner as an “industrial injury” when he passed away at the age of 59.
Now more and more families of ex-footballers are bringing their stories of years of struggling with dementia and other neuron related ailments within their families. Many families of members of the 1966 World Cup-winning team are also on the quest for answers. They are also often accusing the FA of being slow to respond to their concerns which have been going on for more than a decade already.
In general, it is assumed that living an active lifestyle can only be great for your overall health and to a certain degree, it is. Heart-disease, diabetes and other general lifestyle diseases are at a lower prevalence under footballers, yet the results which the study revealed concerning neuron illnesses are staggering. Dr.Willie Stewart stated that even though the conversation between the link between these diseases and the contact sport has been going on for recent years, these results are shocking.
The exact cause for the high prevalence of these diseases is yet to be determined. There are many possible reasons including regular heading of the heavy leather ball, the increased incidence of concussions or any other factor not yet discovered. The FA is, however, funding further research into the matter and stated that they would closely monitor the situation. The families of these ex-footballers want to know whether the FA cared enough to make a difference and now the FA has the opportunity to show them exactly that.