There appears to be a sudden increase of retired rugby and football players being diagnosed with dementia. They are blaming constant impacts to the head over a sustained period of time through matches and training practices.
The BBC recently reported the case of Steve Thompson, Rugby World Cup winner in 2003 with England who cannot remember playing a single game during the tournament. Further reports showing that several players from within the professional era are now coming forward with symptoms of early onset dementia. They are now bringing legal proceedings against the sports governing bodies for negligence.
The Alzheimer’s Society released an article in 2017 titled ‘Football and dementia risk – is there a link?’ Research was indicating that professional football players may be at a greater risk of developing dementia. Ex-football England international Alan Shearer presented a BBC documentary on this very subject, assessing the high impacts that occur when ‘heading’ the ball.
A condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) discovered by Dr. Bennet Omalu can develop when the brain is subjected to numerous small blows or rapid movements, this has been associated with symptoms such as memory loss, depression and progressive dementia.
Rugby and football governing bodies could be facing a tsunami of litigation with ex-players coming forward with symptoms of brain damage, claiming negligence.
Developments in youth football has led to a ban on ‘heading’ the ball in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland for children under the age of 11, whilst limitations have been placed on the frequency of this practice at higher age groups.
Rugby now has strict protocols on potential head injuries, where any player suspected of suffering a concussion is removed from the field for a ‘Head Injury Assessment (HIA).’
Should you be experiencing any symptoms in relation to these conditions and feel they may be attributed to rugby or football participation, and would like to discuss further, please call on 02891814444 or email, link here.
Support for anyone who may be concerned about or suffering symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s can be found below:
Dementia UK – click here
Young Dementia UK – click here
Alzheimer’s Society – click here