Jeff Astle’s family believed that the former West Bromwich Albion star’s dementia, and ultimately his death, came about because of his persistent heading of a football.
As The Guardian recall, some months after he passed away in 2002, the ruling of an ‘industrial disease,’ that was the outcome of an inquest into his death, centred on the issue of heading.
Many other ex-football players have also been diagnosed with dementia – with some listed in The Guardian report – with heading the common thread.
Now, former Manchester United stalwart, Gary Pallister, has indicated that he believes he could be a prime candidate to get the disease, for the same reason as his contemporaries.
“I’m a prime candidate for dementia, it felt like I had a head full of seashells,” he was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
The centre-back even went as far as to suggest that heading should be outlawed completely in kids football, taking the FA’s guidelines on heading in youth football, per the BBC, one step further.
It’s certainly an area that quickly needs to be readdressed, with The Independent citing research by Professor Willie Stewart of the University of Glasgow, which found that professional footballers are up to five times as likely to develop dementia during their lifetime.
Pallister’s candid thoughts on the matter will hopefully bring the discussion front and centre once more.