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PFA Scotland backing new study looking into causes of dementia

In recent years, several high-profile figures who played the game have been diagnosed with the debilitating condition.

PFA Scotland backing new study looking into causes of dementia SNS Group

PFA Scotland has announced its backing for a research programme into the causes of dementia in football players.

The players’ union is funding recruitment of a small number of former players to the ongoing ‘Prevent Dementia’ study, a collaboration between PFA Scotland and researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow aimed at exploring the risk factors associated with dementia in former footballers.

In recent years, several high-profile figures who played the game have been diagnosed with the debilitating condition.

The union will now be speaking to former players in the 40-59-years age bracket to ask them to take part in a series of tests to help get some answers around the link between playing football and brain health.

PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart said: “When we were approached by the people behind the Prevent study we were only too happy to get involved. Dementia among footballers is an extremely important subject which is as relevant to our current members as it is to former players.

“We spoke with our management committee, a few of whom have expressed concern at the recent headlines around dementia, and they were all strongly in favour of the union actively supporting this research.”

Professor Willie Stewart, honorary professor at the University of Glasgow and co-investigator in the Prevent study, said: “Our Field study identified former professional footballers as a population at high risk of dementia and related conditions. The next challenge, which we hope to begin to address as part of this new arm of the PREVENT Dementia study, is to understand why this is the case and whether we might be able detect changes in brain health that would allow us to better target potential treatments to reduce their risk.”