Taken from todays Daily Mail
FA Chairman Greg Dyke commits to head injury research amid fears of dementia among former professional footballers
- Greg Dyke commits to funding independent research into head injuries
- Concerns are growing over the high incidence of dementia in former players
- Dr Ian Beasley insists football will face a ‘tsunami’ of legal claims if concussion protocols are ignored
Dyke has met the family of former England striker Jeff Astle — who died in 2002 aged 59 from early on-set dementia which a coroner found was caused by heading footballs — and he apologised for the FA’s and PFA’s failure to deliver promised research while providing assurances more will be done to tackle the problem.
‘It was reassuring to hear Mr Dyke taking this issue so seriously,’ said Astle’s widow Laraine, who is leading the ‘Justice for Jeff’ campaign calling for stricter concussion measures. ‘He assured us more would be done in the future to understand the extent of this issue and protect future generations.’
‘We’re not even counting (head injuries) properly yet,’ admitted Beasley. ‘We want robust research that gives us some idea of what’s going on.
‘The FA should not run the research. We need to present ourselves to a big academic body and say “help us formulate some research which will give us some answers as to what happens on a football field”.
In June, Professor Willie Stewart, a world-leading neuropathologist who accompanied Astle’s family to Wembley to meet Dyke last week, re-examined the former West Bromwich Albion striker’s brain and confirmed he died from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a form of dementia caused by repeated head injuries and found in former boxers, american footballers and rugby players.
‘This is potentially a significant public health issue and needs to be treated as such,’ said Stewart.
On Saturday, West Brom announced they will dedicate a home game to Astle in a bid to help raise awareness of head injuries in football while a picture of the club’s record scorer will be displayed on the big screen at the Hawthorns in the ninth minute of every home game this season.
While reassured by West Brom and the FA response, Astle’s family have been angered by a contradictory interview given by PFA chairman Gordon Taylor on Wednesday. In the talksport interview Taylor claimed an unpublished study from 2002 — which the FA insist was never completed — showed ‘no causal link’ between head injuries in football and dementia.
But while denying a link exists, Taylor added that professional footballers ‘know the risks’ and pointed to boxers continuing to box despite tragic cases.
Taylor’s comments were branded ‘irresponsible’ and ‘ill-informed’ by experts.
Sportsmail has also learned that Uruguay defender Alvaro Pereira, who was knocked unconscious against England during the World Cup but allowed to play on, has suffered complications from the injury and was last week knocked out again playing for his club Sao Paulo in Brazil.