A major football body is launching an advisory group to help former athletes who have developed neurodegenerative conditions seek treatment and advice, it has been announced.
According to the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the new group will “bring together a group of people with different experiences and expertise” to support players with conditions such as dementia and motor neurone disease.
The news comes after several recent studies found that football – specifically the repeated heading of the football – is linked to significant brain decline and damage.
One piece of research, published by the University of Glasgow, found there was a five-fold increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a four-fold increase in motor neurone disease and a two-fold increase in Parkinson’s after heading the football from a young age.
Another, meanwhile, found that sportspeople with a “history of both repetitive head impacts and TBI” were most likely to report depressive symptoms.
Commenting on the new support group, the PFA said: “Previously our support has predominantly been based on financial assistance and advice.
“Now, with the guidance of our working group, we want to ensure a more holistic support system is available for former footballers and their families.”
It added: “By establishing this advisory group, we hope to give the people most affected a strong voice in how the PFA supports former players and seeks to protect current players.”
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