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FA dementia research ‘a long-overdue step forward’, says brain injury charity Main Image

FA dementia research ‘a long-overdue step forward’, says brain injury charity

Fri 31 Mar 2017

Headway – the brain injury association has cautiously welcomed the long-awaited announcement that the Football Association (FA) and Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) will commission independent research into link between football and dementia in former players. However, the charity has also questioned the absence of research with meaningful implications for the modern game.

The announcement follows persistent pressure over many years from campaigners including Headway for the bodies to conduct meaningful and robust research into the issue.

“This announcement is a positive, but long-overdue, step forward,” said Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway. “The families of former players who have gone onto to suffer from degenerative neurological conditions deserve answers as to whether or not playing football may have impacted their health in later life.

“It is vital, however, the FA and PFA ensures that the research is large in scale and truly independent in order to produce meaningful results.

“By addressing the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease and whether it is more common in ex-professional footballers than in the normal population, the football authorities may be able to further our understanding of the impact caused by heading old-style heavy leather footballs. What appears to be missing from this announcement is the commissioning of any research that will address the question of whether or not heading modern, lightweight footballs may be causing neurological injury in today’s players.

“This cannot be seen as a purely historical issue.”


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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