Dementia risk greatest for defenders, says new research
A new study shows that people who are physically active in their work or leisure activities have a lower risk of developing dementia. The research also suggests that the risk is greater for those who spend most of their time sitting down.
The signs of dementia in dogs is a new research that has found that the risk for dementia is greatest for defenders.
In training, English professionals will be restricted to 10 ‘higher-force’ headers.
According to recent study, defenders are more prone to develop dementia later in life than other football positions.
However, according to his latest study, defenders are five times more likely than non-footballers to get dementia.
In comparison, forwards face three times the danger, while goalkeepers have virtually no additional risk compared to the general population.
Outfielders were four times more likely to suffer from dementia than infielders.
The University of Glasgow’s study, which was sponsored by the Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association, also discovered that the risk of injury rose as a player’s football career progressed.
Moreover, despite recent improvements in football technology and head-injury treatment, there was no indication that the risk of neurodegenerative disease increased for the players in this research, whose careers spanned about 1930 to the late 1990s.
‘A health warning regarding heading should be included on footballs.’
Dr. Stewart, the study’s lead author and a consulting neuropathologist, believes it’s past time for football to remove the danger of heading, which he claims may cause short-term cognitive damage.
“I believe that footballs should come with a health notice that indicates that frequent heading in football may raise the risk of dementia,” he added.
“Unlike other dementias and degenerative illnesses, where we don’t know what causes them, with football, we know the risk factor and it’s completely avoidable.”
“We can put an end to it right now, but we’ll need to minimize, if not eliminate, needless head collisions.” Is it really essential to keep heading for football to continue? To put it another way, is it essential for football players to be exposed to the danger of dementia?
“I’ve yet to see any proof that heading a ball is beneficial to your health. Football is good for you; players have less cancer and cardiovascular issues, but they also have a lot of dementia, which I don’t view as a positive.”
Footballs, according to Professor Willie Stewart, should come with a health warning.
‘Unscientific guessing’ is the new heading direction.
The study comes only a week after English football issued guidelines for professional and amateur players in training. It follows past limitations on heading in junior teams in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Professional players will be restricted to 10 ‘higher-force’ headers per week in training from long passes, corners, or free-kicks beginning next season, while amateur players should be limited to 10 headers per week.
However, Stewart criticized the recommendations, claiming that they were based on “unscientific guessing,” citing the Scottish Football Association, which waited for the results of the current FIELD (Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk) research before issuing its headline advise.
“There is no evidence to suggest that 10 headers of a particular level would make a significant impact to the danger,” he said. The FA based its suggestions on match analysis, estimating the forces that could be present, and then used that information to guide training.
“It’s like standing on the side of a highway, estimating vehicle speeds and discussing traffic control tactics in a city.” It isn’t completely irrelevant.
“We’ll have to wait 30 to 40 years to see whether 10 high-force head strikes make a difference.”
The FA said the new study was “welcomed” and that the revised heading standards were backed up by research and experience in the game.
The study, which compared the health records of approximately 8,000 Scottish former male professional players to 23,000 males in the general community, placed football at the forefront of dementia research in sport, according to Stewart.
He did, however, call it a “global problem” and propose that the game’s forms be changed.
“Perhaps pros can continue to play full-contact heading football with all the assistance and medical awareness of the dangers,” he added.
“However, we may be able to start talking about a game without direction at the community and youth level.” Do we have to wait another 30 to 40 years? Or do we argue that the data is solid enough that a sport without needless head contact should be considered?
“I believe we’ve passed this stage.”
Hugh Pym is a health editor for the New York Times.
Head injury research in professional football and rugby is expanding, despite some worries about the long-term effects on player health.
After a long-running effort by Dawn Astle, whose father Jeff died of dementia after a career that included regular ball heading, the argument has heated up.
Professor Willie Stewart is a renowned specialist in this field, and the Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association commissioned him to do study on player brain health in 2017. His group released preliminary results on the increased dementia risk among retired professionals two years later.
This new research goes much further, identifying defenders and those with the longest careers as the players most at danger, concluding that heading is a significant influence.
Professor Stewart is convinced that immediate action is required to safeguard the health of existing players. That amounts to a major wake-up call for the game from an expert of his standing and a team sponsored by the English football authorities.