Study highlights fresh dementia concerns from playing soccer
In this May 31, 2014, file photo an official 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer ball lies on the grass during an open practice by the United States in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
The Associated Press
Published Monday, October 21, 2019 1:36PM EDT
LONDON -- British scientists who assessed the causes of death of soccer players have found higher dementia rates that raise fresh concerns about long-term health dangers from playing the sport.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow looked into the causes of death of 7,676 Scottish men who played soccer and were born between 1900 and 1976. The causes were compared with a sample of 23,000 people from the general population.
The study found that former professional players had a rate of death due to neurodegenerative diseases 3.5 times higher than expected.
English Football Association chairman Greg Clark says "the whole game must recognize that this is only the start of our understanding and there are many questions that still need to be answered. It is important that the global football family now unites to find the answers and provide a greater understanding of this complex issue."
Willie Stewart, who led the study, says their analysis showed a five-fold increase in the chance of suffering from Alzheimer's disease among soccer players.
But players were found to be less likely to die of other common diseases, including some cancers.