As the NFL continues to deal with the emerging links between American Football and damage to the brain, the English Football Association has petitioned FIFA to further research the link between football and dementia. 

The call for an in-depth investigation comes after three members of England’s 1966 World Cup winning team were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 

The FA’s chief of medicine Ian Beasley is leading the charge for more research; today, he said “it’s a massive undertaking to try and decide whether there’s an association between having played professional football and cognitive decline… We just don’t know.”

While the current, mostly-untested hypothesis attributes the possible onset of dementia to specifically heading the heavy, dense leather balls favoured in previous decades, any possible correlation found by FIFA would still have a massive affect on the game today. 

Last year, a groundbreaking study found that US boy’s football players suffered concussions at a rate of 1.6 per 10,000 games; that rate nearly tripled to 4.6 per 10,000 games for girls. 

While the majority of those injuries were sustained in player-to-player contact, the softer synthetic balls used today still contributed to players’ concussions. 

Of course, our own personal brand of footy is not exempt from concussions, oh no; for what it’s worth, the AFL has taken strides to reduce the damage head injuries cause to its players, and has even offered an online resource package for local teams to deal with the issue. 

As for FIFA, their medical guru said there’s scant evidence to substantiate a definite link between headers and brain trauma. We may have to wait until Luis Suarez retires to find out what effect this ungodly strike had on his wellbeing:

English FA Petitions FIFA To Research Link Between Football & Dementia

Source: BBC. 
Photo: Antonio Villalba / Getty.