Back in March I wrote a blog about worrying link between football and head injuries and touched on the suggestion that continuous heading of footballs had contributed to the onset of dementia for a number of former footballers.

Recently, a documentary presented by Newcastle United legend and renowned header of the ball, Alan Shearer, was shown on BBC One. It further delved into the link between heading the ball and the rising risk of developing degenerative brain conditions later in life. Shearer met with the families of some of the former players mentioned in my previous blog who are now suffering with dementia, including John Stiles, son of former England world cup winner Nobby Stiles.

The families interviewed were still looking for answers and support from football governing bodies who have yet to acknowledge the link or put safety measures in place.

During the programme, Shearer also spoke to Les Ferdinand who provided an interesting insight by explaining that he uses soft footballs at the QPR academy, showing that there are individuals trying to make a difference even if it is not an initiative that is filtering from the top.

In his reflection, Shearer said;

“We hear a lot about footballers having problems with drink, drugs or gambling, and the football authorities have put measures in place to help them.

Similarly, after Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba almost died of a cardiac arrest on the pitch in 2012, defibrillators were put at every ground within a matter of months.

All of this has helped to save lives. Yet very little has been done to investigate the effects of heading a ball. I find that staggering.”

While it can be disheartening to see so little progress over the last decade or so I think there are a great deal of positives to be taken from the discussion reaching mainstream media and pulling in famous faces with influence like Alan Shearer.

Since the documentary aired, Shearer believes that, from the response it got, people who govern the game are beginning to listen. That remains to be seen but simply raising awareness is a step in the right direction. The documentary, Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me is available to watch on BBC iPlayer until 12/12/17.

Here at Farleys we have expert solicitors who specialise in brain injury and head injury compensation claims. Our dedication towards providing support and representation for clients who have suffered life changing injuries through no fault of their own is shown by our inclusion, for the second year running, in Headway’s Head Injury Solicitors Directory. If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about making a claim, please call 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.