Dementia in football: New charity created to help victims in sports

A new charity, supported by Nobby Stiles’ family, has been set up to help football and rugby players suffering from brain damage and dementia.

Head for Change will offer practical solutions that provide care and support for families. It will also campaign for the immediate introduction of safer sports practices in football and rugby as well as funding for further research on the subject.

In recent months, a number of well-known athletes and women have talked about the devastating effects of concussion. Former English rugby player Steve Thompson, 42, described how he has been diagnosed with dementia. His condition is so bad that he can not even remember winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003.


The new PFA dementia counselor Dawn Astle, daughter of Jeff Astle, will help shape the dementia treatment in the players’ union for former and current football players.

The charity, Head for Change, is created by families of those affected by dementia. Trustee, Judith Gates ‘is a caregiver for her husband, Bill, who played for Middlesbrough in the 1960s and’ 70s alongside people like Stiles, who died in October. He was coached by Jack Charlton, who died of dementia last year.

The head of a dementia study says there is an urgent need for research into the effects of playing football on women


Former professional footballer Mickey Ambrose, who co-signs the letter calling for a re-examination of the link between leading the ball and dementia, believes ‘lighter football’ could help the problem.

Gates told Sky Sports News: “By learning from the past and moving forward with goodwill, together we can take care of past players, protect current and future players and create a safer game for tomorrow. That’s what is needed. “that’s what the players have and the fans want, that’s what we can achieve together. Working towards this goal is both a privilege and a shared responsibility. It will be my husband’s legacy”.

Another counselor, Dr. Sally Tucker, is an NHS surgeon and daughter of a former professional football player suffering from dementia.

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Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes explains the letter a group of former footballers and politicians sent to the government about the link between leading the ball and dementia.

She said: “In medicine, we follow the ethical principle ‘first, do not hurt’. We want to bring the best minds in research together with sports bodies to prevent harm to those who participate while we work to ensure the game lives on. , and research promotes our knowledge. “

The charity plans to provide educational programs on brain health and hopes that families of those affected by degenerative brain injuries will get in touch as well as anyone in the sport who feels they can help be part of the solution.

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