EX-FOOTBALLERS are almost three and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than the general public, a study has revealed.
The findings support previous research which found that pro players may be at higher risk of brain-function disease.
The latest study was commissioned by the Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association — with more than 460 ex-pros taking part.
It found 2.8 per cent were diagnosed with dementia or other neurodegenerative disease compared with 0.9 per cent of the general population — a 3.46 times higher rate.
England’s 1966 World Cup winners Jack Charlton, Nobby Stiles, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson all passed away after suffering with the illness.
West Brom legend Jeff Astle’s death in 2002 at the age of 59 was later linked at an inquest to heading footballs.
Dr Adam White, from the PFA, said: “These studies ensure that targeted and evidence-led action can be identified and taken to support and protect players at all stages of their career.”
The findings will be shared with football’s world and European ruling bodies Fifa and Uefa.
The Sun told earlier this year how a group of former footballers and rugby players and their families are launching legal action for damages in relation to brain injuries.
Their lawyer, Richard Boardman, of Rylands Garth, told The Sun: “We allege there’s been a systematic failure by the governing bodies to protect players.”