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  1. ITV Report

Major study to investigate footballers' risk of developing dementia

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

Experts are to begin exploring whether playing football increases the risk of dementia, in "one of the most comprehensive studies ever commissioned" on the subject.

The study, which starts in January, will explore whether dementia is more common in ex-professional footballers than in the normal population.

The Football Association and the Professional Footballers' Association appointed a team from the University of Glasgow and the Hampden Sports Clinic to lead the investigation.

15,000
former professionals will take part in the study

Over recent years there have been heightened concerns about the impact of contact sports on the brain.

The team, led by Dr William Stewart, a consultant neuropathologist, are experts in brain injury, public health and sports medicine.

Dr Stewart said they hope to provide some understanding of the health-impact of football "within the next two to three years".

This new research will be one the most comprehensive studies ever commissioned into the long-term health of former footballers.

Dementia can have a devastating effect and, as the governing body of English football, we felt compelled to commission a significant new study in order to fully understand if there are any potential risks associated with playing the game.

– Martin Glenn, chief executive of the FA

The FA and the PFA will jointly-fund the research, which will be project managed by the sports concussion research charity The Drake Foundation.