There have been numerous studies over the past few years with the unfortunate deaths of former professional footballers from dementia or associated brain diseases. The Drake Foundation was set up in 2014 to investigate and study whether there is a link between dementia and football.
Jeff Astle is one of the more high-profile footballers who played for West Bromwich Albion and Notts County, he unfortunately died from dementia aged just 59 in 2014. A foundation was set up in his name. The foundation lobby and actively encourage investigations and research into establishing whether there is a link between football and brain injury, and whether there is an increased risk later in life for ex footballers.
The results of a recent study completed by the FA in conjunction with the PFA were published in October 2019. This revealed that former footballers are three times more likely to die due to dementia.
Following this, the Irish and Scottish FA banned heading in football for children, the first European nations to impose restrictions.
The English Football Association published guidance on 24th February 2020 on heading in training for children aged under the age of 18. This ban does not apply to any matches the children may play in.
Being involved in grassroots football myself as a level one qualified coach, I monitored the research and the recent study with interest. The guidance will inevitably protect children and allow them to safely participate within sport and reduce the risks of developing dementia.
Here at Stephensons, we understand the severe impact brain injuries have on not only the injured person, but their families. We have considerable experience in handling and dealing with sports injury claims, if you have any queries, then please do not hesitate to contact us 01616 966 229.
By Toni Lowery, graduate paralegal in the personal injury team