A former Wales soccer player has agreed to undergo brain scans for the rest of his life as part of a study into the impact repeated head butting in former professional “footballers.” He is also encouraging other former players to participate in the study, which will check for the early signs of dementia and other cognitive issues associated with repeated head blows, the BBC reported.
“I scored with my head a lot. I want to see if there is anything I should be concerned about in the foreseeable future,” said Iwan Roberts, 51, who played more than 800 games and scored 239 goals during a 20-year career as a professional soccer player. He retired in 2005.
As part of the study, Roberts will take a series of memory, attention and spatial-awareness tests every six months. His results will be compared to those of another person who is active but never played professional ball.
“I’m a big believer in prevention is better than cure,” he said. “The sooner I know the signs are there, the better.”
Previous studies have shown that players of professional sports such as soccer and American football are at a much higher risk of dementia. For soccer players in particular, “We think this is related to repetitive heading of the ball,” said lead researcher Dr. Michael Grey. “So, there will be many footballers out there who are understandably very worried about their futures.”
Former professional American football players who suffer from dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia, ALS or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) may quality for compensation through the National Football League’s 65-year, $1 billion uncapped settlement fund. The injuries are believed to be caused by repeated concussions suffered during practices and games.
Beasley Allen lawyers Mike Andrews and Stephanie Monplaisir have a particular interest in cases involving Traumatic Brain Injury. TBI results from a blow to the head from repeated concussions as well as severe head injuries. While the physical injury related to a head trauma may be diagnosed visibly, many people do not realize they are suffering from a TBI and may have what are often called “invisible symptoms.” These may include memory loss, depression, aggression, suicidal thoughts, even body temperature and sensation issues. Mike is President of the Board of Directors for the Alabama Head Injury Foundation. Stephanie is the immediate past President of the Alabama Head Injury Foundation’s Montgomery Chapter.