Football: Shearer reveals dementia fears over heading

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File Photo


File Photo

 

LONDON:The Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer Alan Shearer fears he may be at risk of suffering from dementia due to heading footballs during his playing days, calling for more research on the issue.

The 47-year-old former England captain, who bagged 260 Premier League goals during an 18-year career, has revealed his fears over his long-term health.

“For every goal I scored with a header during a game, I must have practised it 1,000 times in training,” the former Blackburn and Newcastle player told Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper. “That must put me at risk if there is a link.”

Shearer, who also netted 30 goals in 63 appearances for England, had tests to examine how heading the ball has affected his brain.

“The tests were pretty nerve-wracking,” he said.  “I have got a terrible memory. I don’t know if that is because I don’t listen, but I have got a poor memory.

“When you play football as a professional you expect in later life you are going to have problems with your knees, your ankles, or you back, like I have.

“But never did I think playing football could be linked to having a brain disease. That is why the research has to be done.”

The TV pundit believes more research needs to be carried out and greater support for ex-players with dementia should be on offer.

“Nowhere near enough research has been done,” said Shearer. “The authorities have been very reluctant to find out any answers. They have swept it under the carpet, which is not good enough.

“Football must look after old players with dementia and put an end to this sense that once you are done playing, you can be put on the scrapheap.

“It’s a tough game, it’s a brilliant game, but we have to make sure it’s not a killer game.”-AFP