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Headway welcomes new research into effects of heading the ball

Headway – the brain injury association has welcomed a new study investigating the long-term impact of heading a football on the brain but believes there’s still more to be done.

The four-year BrainHOPE study will work with 120 ex-professional footballers aged between 40-59 to look into ways of reducing the risk of repeated head trauma and subsequent disease.

The £1.3m project is being led by respected expert Dr Willie Stewart who is a consultant neuropathologist at the University of Glasgow, and is jointly funded by the FA and FIFA.

“It’s positive to see football finally putting its hand in its pocket to pay for this excellent research, but it has taken far too long to get to this point,” said Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway.

“And whilst this is a helpful step forward, we hope that it will not be four years before the next funding announcement.

“More money needs to be pledged, and more research undertaken, so that a wider body of evidence from a range of researchers can provide a real consensus as to what damage is being done to the brain everytime someone heads the ball.

“At Headway, we know the benefits of sport and staying active, and it’s very important to our wellbeing, but we also cannot wait for another four years to see the extent to which players – from Sunday league to the global elite – may be putting themselves at risk.

“We look forward to seeing how the BrainHOPE study progresses but hope in the meantime more researchers, academics and funders come forward to make brain health in football a priority.”

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