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​Brain injury solicitor welcomes football head injury research

Research conducted by Glasgow University on possible links between professional footballers and head injury has been welcomed by brain injury solicitor Harminder Bains.

Footballer heading ball

21 October 2019

The research, reported by the BBC, found that former professional footballers are three and a half times more likely to die from dementia than people of the same age from the general population.
 
The research was prompted by concerns that footballers repeatedly heading the ball could result in permanent injury and follows the inquest into the death of former footballer Jeff Astle, which found that heading leather footballs had contributed to trauma to his brain.
 
The experts compared the deaths of 7,676 ex-football players to 23,000 men from the general population. The footballers were taken from those that played in Scotland between 1900 to 1976.
 
Consultant neuropathologist Dr Willie Stewart, who led the research, told the BBC 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".
 
Despite the increased risk of these neurodegenerative conditions the research also found that the former football players we less likely to die from other common diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease.
 
The research was commissions by the Football Association and the Professional Footballer’s Association who have both highlighted the importance of the research and said that even more research is needed to ensure greater understanding.
 
Harminder Bains, solicitor in the personal injury team at Leigh Day, who has represented a number of clients who have suffered brain injuries, said:
 
“It is great to see that the concerns that have been raised about the possible links between footballers repeatedly heading footballs and brain injury are being taken seriously. Hopefully this research will mark the beginning of greater understanding of the risks of neurodegenerative conditions in footballers, as well as more information about these conditions more generally.”

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