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Rise of dementia cases in football could see heading outlawed according to Ryan Mason

With sport finally taking concussion and head injuries more seriously, the notion that the heading of a football could be a major cause of dementia in ex-players is now getting the coverage it deserves.

So much so that one ex-footballer has even suggested that heading could soon be outlawed.

“It wouldn’t surprise me in 10 to 15 years if heading wasn’t involved in the game,” Ryan Mason, who had to quit the game because of a fractured skull, said to BBC Sport.

“The research and the momentum it’s getting, I think it’s probably going to open up a lot more stuff that becomes quite shocking.

“I’m not sure footballers are fully aware of the potential damage. This is where the more research, the more understanding, the more education current players get, the better.

“It might even get to a point where you might need to sign something to say that I’m OK [playing with the risk].

“It really is concerning. The problem we have is you don’t know the effects until you get later on in life.”

BBC Sport note that a study by neuropathologist, Dr Willie Stewart, found that footballers are three and a half times more likely to suffer from dementia, however, it didn’t establish whether the condition was caused by concussions from collisions or having to repeatedly head the ball.

The seriousness with which the issue is being taken can be seen in youth football, where children below a certain age are now no longer allowed to head a ball, whether during training or a match.

Clearly, one more case of dementia within the sport is one too many, so the quicker that any research can be concluded and medical conclusions given, the better.

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