Scientists have found signs of brain damage that could cause dementia in a handful of former soccer players, fueling worries about the danger of frequent knocks from heading the ball or colliding with others on the field.
The small study was the first of its kind, involving postmortems on six men who died with dementia after long careers playing soccer. All were skilled headers of the ball.
It suggests that some professional soccer players might risk the same long-term cognitive problems suffered by boxers and some American football players.
But experts said more research was needed to prove any definitive link between heading a football and developing dementia, and they added that the risk was likely to be minimal for occasional players.
“We’ve demonstrated that the same type of pathology that occurs in ex-boxers can also occur in some ex-footballers who have dementia, but I’d emphasize this is a very small number of players,” said co-lead researcher Huw Morris of London’s UCL Institute of Neurology.
“The average playing career of these players was 26 years, which is thousands of hours of game playing, thousands of hours of practice and thousands of headers … I think the risk is extremely low from playing recreational football.”
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and scientists said the danger of head injuries had to be weighed against the game’s known benefits in improving cardiovascular health, which actually reduces the likelihood of developing dementia.
The study, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica on Wednesday, followed 14 retired soccer players with dementia and secured next-of-kin permission for post mortem examinations for six of them.
The scientists found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a potential cause of dementia, in four of the six brains. All six also had signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
CTE is common in ex-boxers and has been linked to progressive memory, behavioral and motor impairment.
Unlike boxing or American football, blows to the head in soccer are generally lower impact and players are less likely to experience concussion. But there may still be cumulative damage from sub-concussive impacts, experts believe.
Britain’s Football Association said more work was needed into whether degenerative brain disease was more common in ex-footballers, adding it planned to jointly fund research with the Professional Footballers’ Association.
- Carnival Results 2017
- St Vincent born calypsonian Lornette “Fya Empress” fires back at TUCO
- In spite of the long career Calypso Rose has no plans to bow out of the musical arena
- Football away focus while horse racing is all at home – today
- Bravo has tweet and cricketing future in his hands, regional boss says
- US Muslim community campaigns to repair Jewish cemetery
- Former National Security Minister says Government must properly communicate the truth to US President Donald Trump
- Tourism Minister says she is expecting a bumper Carnival season 2017
- Calypsonian Lady Gypsy’s fate for a spot in the Calypso Monarch is still uncertain
- President of the Route Two Maxi Taxi Association calls for more security at City Gate after Carnival fetes
Popular TagsACCIDENT Anand Ramlogan caribbean news Chaguanas West By-Election COP crime crime news Dr. Keith Rowley Gary Griffith Government Jack Warner Kamla Persad Bissessar Keith Rowley Laventille Ministry Murder news News Power Now oilfield workers Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley Parliament PETROTRIN PNM Police Police investigating police investigations politics PORT OF SPAIN power 102 Prime Prime Minister Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar Radio Vision LTD San Fernando THA Tobago trinidad trinidad and tobago trinidad and tobago news trinidad and tobago police service ttps UNC united national congress WASA world news