Professional footballers could be putting their future health at risk. Recent research has shown that retired male players are around five times more likely to suffer from dementia than the average person.
Very little is known about when players start to show signs of the disease or how it affects female players, as almost all research in football is focused on men. That’s why the Concussion Action Programme, a research group within UEA Health and Social Care Partners, is launching a pioneering research project.
Using cutting-edge tech, the team will test for the early signs of dementia in both men and women. Former players will generate vital data by taking part in what is known as the SCORES (Screening Cognitive Outcomes after Repetitive head impact Exposure in Sport) project. This will start in England and then be rolled out internationally.
The team hopes to track the brain health of players throughout their lives. It’s the first time such a project has been carried out. And it will greatly add to our understanding of the development of this debilitating illness.
We’ve launched a £1 million fundraising goal for the research and hope that at
least 10% of it will be crowd-funded. We’re also looking for former professional players to take part.
Former Norwich City Football Club striker Iwan Roberts, who played more than 600 games for club and country, is already backing the project. He believes, “The research they are doing here will help everybody.”
- Take part: www.scoresproject.org
- Chip in and support our research: www.justgiving.com/campaign/SCORES
“We now know that there is a much higher risk of dementia in former professional footballers, and we think this is related to repetitive heading of the ball. We’ll be working with former professional players to investigate and track their brain health over time. We hope to follow these footballers for the rest of their lives.”
- Dr Michael Grey, UEA School of Health Sciences.