The brilliant and inventive minds of soccer players around the planet may be at risk of degenerative brain disease, which a new, major study that was commissioned today will investigate further.
The study comes amid concerns that England’s sports bodies haven’t tackled this issue cleanly.
The Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association appointed an independent research team, based in Scotland, to undertake a study entitled “Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk“.
“This new research will be one of the most comprehensive studies ever commissioned into the long-term health of former footballers,” FA chief executive Martin Glenn said.
“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.”
Researchers assisting in the study are hoping to answer one key query – “Is the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease more common in ex-professional footballers than in the normal population?”
They hope to have elementary results within two to three years.
The fears of long-term brain damage were pushed into the spotlight this month, when former England captain and the Premiership’s all-time goal scoring leader Alan Shearer was featured in a BBC documentary. The English icon detailed trepidations about the effects of heading the ball throughout his decorated career.
The FA has been widely scrutinized for its lack of interest in whether heading a soccer ball is associated with dementia or other forms of brain damage. Past footballers have led the attack, including ex-England and West Bromwich Albion striker Jeff Astle, who died in 2002 from brain injuries.
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