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Call for sportspeople to be protected from brain injury

Academics from the University of Birmingham are campaigning for more to be done to protect the brains of footballers and other athletes who suffer blows to the head.

The campaign is being supported by the daughter of former West Bromwich Albion player Jeff Astle, who died from brain trauma caused by heading heavy footballs.

Dr Michael Grey, from the University's School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, said further education and awareness about the potential risks of concussion was a major issue.

Dr Grey and his colleague Prof Toni Belli are running a study to investigate the brains of sportspeople in the aftermath of a concussion - they are trying to develop a better test to aid the return to play decision.

Their call is being supported by Dawn Astle and Peter Robinson. Dawn Astle is the daughter of former West Bromwich Albion player Jeff Astle who, an inquest found, died from a brain trauma caused by heading heavy footballs - a condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTW).

Peter Robinson is the father of Ben Robinson whose son died as a result of repeated concussions during a rugby match.

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Rugby World Cup tickets go on sale including games in the Midlands

Ticket's for the 2015 Rugby World Cup go on general sale today, with the tournament just over a year away.

The Rugby World Cup takes place across England and Wales next year Credit: ITV News Central

Some of the games will be played in the Midlands, at Aston Villa's Villa Park ground, and Leicester City's King Power Stadium.

The application window for the tickets ends on 29 September.

Some of the games will be played at Leicester's King Power Stadium Credit: Nick Potts/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Stoke City USA winger joins Birmingham on loan

USA international Brek Shea has arrived at Birmingham City FC on a three-month emergency loan.

Brek Shea has arrived at Birmingham City FC on a three-month emergency loan. Credit: Birmingham City FC

The 24-year-old winger has joined from Premier League side Stoke City for a deal that will run to 13th December.

It comes as Lee Clark's squad have been hit with several injuries in recent weeks.

Police use sport to 'turn young people's lives around'

Police hope the initiative will cut anti-social behaviour Credit: PA

West Midlands Police (WMP) and Sport England have teamed up to provide young people in the region with grass roots sport opportunities.

The force has received £245,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England's Community Sport Activation Fund, which has been used to create a three-year 'Sport WMP' programme of free sporting activity aimed at 14- to 24-year-olds across the West Midlands.

The Sport WMP project is part of the force's on going drive to tackle anti-social behaviour and reduce youth related crime in the region, which often occurs due to a lack of activity for young people.

The force has received National Lottery funding from Sport England's Community Sport Activation Fund Credit: PA

Superintendent Keith Fraser, the force lead for the programme, said:

This is a national first. We are the first force to put together such an ambitious programme aimed at not only tackling anti-social behaviour and reducing crime, but increasing the trust and confidence that young people have in the police.

We know that getting involved in a sport or organised activity can often serve as a valuable diversion for youngsters that otherwise may be bored and 'hanging around' on the streets, which in itself can lead to problems in our communities. We will also be focused around attracting offenders and those likely to offend to reduce offending and re-offending rates.

Mike Diaper, Sport England Director of Community Sport, said:

The investment being made through the Community Sport Activation Fund is making a real difference at a very local level and I'm pleased to be working with West Midlands Police to help more young people develop a lifelong sporting habit.

Worcestershire sign Alex Gidman from Gloucestershire

Worcestershire have bolstered their squad by signing vastly experienced batsman Alex Gidman from Gloucestershire on a two year contract.

Alex Gidman batting for Gloucester during day one of the LV County Championship Division Two match at New Road, Worcester Credit: PA

Gidman has put pen to paper with the LV= County Championship Division Two leaders until the end of the 2016 season.

The 33-year-old only this week scored a career best 264 for Gloucestershire against Leicestershire at Bristol.

He also impressed Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes when making 145 in Gloucestershire's win at New Road in the Championship last month.

Gidman has scored 23 First Class hundreds and 57 half centuries and amassed 11,000 First Class runs at an average of more than 36.

In addition the High Wycombe-born player has compiled 4,458 List A runs at an average of nearly 28.00.

Rhodes said: "If you look at some of the recent innings he has played, they have been quite outstanding.

"One of them was against us but also to get 260 odd in the current game against Leicestershire is also a fantastic achievement.

"We are getting someone who is in the best form of his career."

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Gabby Agbonlahor signs new four-year deal at Villa

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Three arrested after football steward assault

A match steward had to be taken away on a stretcher during last night's Lincoln City vs Grimsby Town game after he was assaulted.

Steward stretchered from game after alleged assault Credit: Press Association

It happened when the Imps scored their third goal during the match at Lincoln's Sincil Bank stadium.

The 41-year-old was knocked to the ground after a chair was thrown. He suffered a head injury but did not require hospital treatment.

Three men from Lincoln were arrested, including 22-year-old man for assaulting a police officer, a 20-year-old for breaching S5 of the Public Oder Act and a 49-year-old for affray. A fourth man, a 26-year-old from Louth was arrested for affray.

Cycling's Tour of Britain comes to the Midlands

The Tour of Britain comes to the Midlands today.

The riders on the opening stage of the Tour of Britain Credit: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The cyclists, led by yesterday's surprise winner Eduardo Zardini start off from the Hive in Worcester at 10.45am.

The route takes them into Herefordshire and Gloucestershire before finishing 115 miles later in Bristol.

Professional Cricket chief sorry for racism remarks

The Professional Cricketers' Association chief executive Angus Porter has apologised for playing down the abuse Moeen Ali was subjected to at Edgbaston on Sunday.

Moeen Ali was subjected to abuse at Edgbaston Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The England spinner was booed by Indian fans during the hosts' Twenty20 win in Birmingham.

Angus Porter on Tuesday suggested the player should take it "as a positive".

Moeen's father believed it was because of his Pakistani background, and police treated it as a "non-crime hate related incident" after an official complaint from a spectator.

I made a mistake by suggesting racism does not matter and I do condemn it unreservedly. I started by saying that in the interview but I also tried to play down the situation because Moeen does not want it to become a major issue. But in trying to play it down I succeeded in doing the reverse and I am sorry.

– Angus Porter
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