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Far Cough 2:46 Mon Oct 21
Jeff Astle
Former professional footballers are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than people of the same age range in the general population, according to new research.

Experts at Glasgow University have been investigating fears that heading the ball could be linked to brain injuries.

The study began after claims that former West Brom striker Jeff Astle died because of repeated head trauma.

It compared deaths of 7,676 ex-players to 23,000 from the general population.

The sample was taken from men who played professional football in Scotland between 1900 and 1976.

However, despite the dementia risk, the study also found that playing the game increased average lifespan.

The long-awaited study was commissioned by the Football Association and the Professional Footballers' Association after delays in initial research had angered Astle's family.

It began in January last year and was led by consultant neuropathologist Dr Willie Stewart, whose report said that "risk ranged from a five-fold increase in Alzheimer's disease, through an approximately four-fold increase in motor neurone disease, to a two-fold Parkinson's disease in former professional footballers compared to population controls".

Former England international Astle developed dementia and died in 2002 at the age of 59. The inquest into his death found heading heavy leather footballs repeatedly had contributed to trauma to his brain.

But research by the FA and the PFA was later dropped because of what were said to be technical flaws.

Astle's family has campaigned for the football authorities to launch a comprehensive research programme.

His daughter Dawn said she was "relieved" the study eventually went ahead, with her father's case highlighted by former England captain Alan Shearer in a BBC documentary Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me.

BBC


RIP Jeff Astle

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Alfs 1:40 Fri Oct 25
Re: Jeff Astle
From what I've read there's no way heading will be banned in the near future. More probably they will look at new materials to make the ball from so it cushions the impact. The problem is doing that whilst not reducing the power and speed of the header.

Sydney_Iron 1:26 Fri Oct 25
Re: Jeff Astle
Think i read somewhere recently about some medical professional types going on about this and suggesting a ban, nanny state bollocks and all that, but im sure it will prompt a few to sue former clubs or the FA.

Maybe they could all wear helmets? In club colours of course....

gph 10:55 Thu Oct 24
Re: Jeff Astle
BTW, London won by 2 goals and 4 touchdowns to nil.

Unlikely that there'll be a repeat in the match West Ham United LONDON vs SHEFFIELD United...

Raymond Duck 10:32 Thu Oct 24
Re: Jeff Astle
Any more pie ?

gph 8:56 Thu Oct 24
Re: Jeff Astle
I head the ball.

That's what's to blame for the missing apostrophe below...

only1billybonds 8:52 Thu Oct 24
Re: Jeff Astle
It might have been Moyes but someone said earlier in the week that using lighter balls in training would help. If they got much lighter they'll be using balloons.

gph 8:47 Thu Oct 24
Re: Jeff Astle
I read somewhere that in the first representative match played between London and Sheffield, the Londoners were pissing themselves laughing at the Sheffielders bizarre Northern antics - heading the ball.

Not something the Londoners had thought of doing.

Jim79 11:54 Wed Oct 23
Re: Jeff Astle
With the obsession with playing out from the back at all levels of football these days you dont see the same regulatory of long goal kicks to the halfway line where it is met with an almighty header plus the balls are so much lighter that this is sadly a situation that has no doubt been reduced so much already and likely not to be a major issue going forwards.

Plus the research mentions that due to the health benefits of an active and athletic life provided to professional footballers means they typically live longer. It is not clear whether the research is comparing the 7000 footballers they sampled against the same age demographic of the public, ie. people in the public who lived longer due to healthy lifestyle. Its not even clear whether the 23,000 public sample was just men as it should be for a fair comparison. Lots of unanswered questions.

Its unlikely that many if any ex pros would change and thing but in todays day and age if the authorities are proved to have known about the risks and not made them public then they are culpable.

we live in a litigious day and age.

Chigwell 11:21 Wed Oct 23
Re: Jeff Astle
NJ 08:05:
Pedants like me would say nauseated.

zico 8:22 Tue Oct 22
Re: Jeff Astle
Far Cough 8:03 Tue Oct 22

He he...

New Jersey 8:05 Tue Oct 22
Re: Jeff Astle
Fuck me those old footballs were heavy, if you timed it wrong and got one on top of your bonce, you would literally see stars and feel nauseous for a while!

Far Cough 8:03 Tue Oct 22
Re: Jeff Astle
There is obviously something in it but my mum has dementia and never headed a football as far as I know!!

Is your mum Nat Lofthouse?

swt

zico 7:59 Tue Oct 22
Re: Jeff Astle
There is obviously something in it but my mum has dementia and never headed a football as far as I know!!

I'd love to see more study into "why" certain players like Martin Peters for instance has dementia when he headed a lot of footballs but so far Geoff Hurst who probably headed more doesn't? It's a bit like why did Alan Ball die of a heart attack but Bobby Charlton is still going strong?

Interestingly enough at my mum's care home a vast majority of sufferers seem to have been extremely intelligent people with high class jobs in the medical, scientific or engineering field. Are intelligent people more at risk in developing dementia than dullards like myself?!

Russ of the BML 11:29 Tue Oct 22
Jeff Astle
The balls are so light these days and football has change so much in its style so the ball is on the ground so much more. Is it still an issue for players of this generation?

eusebiovic 11:27 Tue Oct 22
Re: Jeff Astle
Wembley Trophy was the bright orange heavy plastic ball

I have fond memories of the Stuart Sturridge Minerva...you could get some really true leverage behind one of those - their flight was true and there wasn't much swerve if you hit them cleanly...

David L 10:52 Tue Oct 22
Re: Jeff Astle
Wembley?

Westham67 7:41 Mon Oct 21
Re: Jeff Astle
You would know Soldo what were the orange footballs called they were a bit weighty 70 and 80 ?

eusebiovic 7:28 Mon Oct 21
Re: Jeff Astle
Nobody is getting brain damaged with the beach windfloaters they play with these days

Northern Sold 6:19 Mon Oct 21
Re: Jeff Astle
Cough... had a email from the Essex FA regarding `FA Field Research Findings'... makes interesting reading as to what the plans are going forward... seems like to me nothing will change... load of waffle about kids are playing more structured football now than the old' jumpers for goalposts and that they are safer now than the old days... otherwise... it's a load of old typical FA waffle...

Far Cough 6:18 Mon Oct 21
Re: Jeff Astle
Astle had to helped off the plane to Mexico city because he was pissed out of his head but to be fair he didn't like flying

Sven Roeder 6:15 Mon Oct 21
Re: Jeff Astle
Dan M
Perhaps he forgot
Early onset dementia

If he is lucky he forgot the sitter he missed v Brazil

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