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Sportsmail’s Seven Point Letter on How Soccer MUST Address the Dementia Crisis

Sportsmail’s Seven Point Letter on How Soccer MUST Address the Dementia Crisis: Where Are We Now, 12 Months After First Launch?

  • A year ago Sportsmail released a letter urging football to tackle dementia
  • Several changes have been made, however the momentum has only just begun.
  • With 12 months now under the belt, Sportsmail takes a look at what’s different


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A year ago, Sportsmail released our seven point letter urging soccer to finally address its dementia scandal.

Changes are coming slowly but, as Chris Sutton points out, much more can be done. Soccer has spent too much time sitting on its hands and without lifting a finger, it is now pushing to make up for lost time.

Twelve months later, we examine what has changed …

1 – Increased funding from the FA and PFA for independent research on dementia and its links to football, including £ 250,000 to facilitate a further two years of the FIELD study.

Within hours of reaching out to the PFA for comment, another year was funded for the groundbreaking field study, which found ex-players were three and a half times more likely to die from a neurodegenerative disease and five times more likely to die. dying of a neurodegenerative disease. develop Alzheimer’s disease, it was announced.

The study, also supported by the FA, will be completed in four months, but vital research will remain ongoing with Professor Willie Stewart at the University of Glasgow and elsewhere.

2 – The PFA to provide respite to families / caregivers of former professional footballers living with dementia.

3 – The PFA will designate a ‘dedicated dementia team’ and will work with, promote and financially support the Alzheimer’s Society’s Sport Together Against Dementia campaign and the Dementia Connect Helpline.

4 – The PFA to help fund regular social events for people living with dementia and their caregivers.

In January, the PFA took important steps to address these points in a major victory for the campaign, but more importantly, a significant move that could help those in need.

In a wide-ranging statement, the union announced that a dedicated dementia department would be created, which would help work with families and provide regular events for those living with dementia and a vital respite for their caregivers.

Tireless activist Dawn Astle, whose father, former England and West Bromwich striker Jeff, was the first footballer to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of dementia associated with repeated impacts to the head, after his death, was one of those appointed as an advisor.

Tireless activist Dawn Astle was among those appointed as an adviser to the PFA

Tireless activist Dawn Astle was among those appointed as an adviser to the PFA

5 – Dementia must be formally recognized as an industrial disease.

While there is hope north of the border, with Scottish MPs calling for change, as this newspaper reports today, there is a way to go for people with dementia to claim disability benefits, with industrial disease investigation ongoing.

6 – Soccer lawmakers, IFAB, to immediately ratify temporary concussion replacements.

The Premier League has been testing permanent concussion suspensions since February. But experts believe that temporary substitutes give doctors enough time to assess whether players should return to the field and that permanent substitutes can lead to players being reluctant to leave the field of play.

The Premier League has been testing permanent concussion suspensions since February.

The Premier League has been testing permanent concussion suspensions since February.

The Premier League has been testing permanent concussion suspensions since February.

7 – Clubs to limit the course at all levels, including the professional. Maximum of 20 headers per training session. Minimum 48 hours between sessions.

In July, the Premier League, EFL, PFA and LMA announced a course guide for each level of the pyramid. In professional play, a maximum of 10 ‘force majeure headers’ per week was recommended in training.

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