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  1. ITV Report

Former footballer Lenny Johnrose raising awareness of football link to Motor Neurone Disease

Lenny Johnrose developed Motor Neurone Disease two years ago Credit: PA Images

A former Swansea City star is raising awareness about the possible dangers of developing neurological disorders by playing football.

Lenny Johnrose, who is 49, was diagnosed with the terminal illness Motor Neurone Disease (MND) two years ago. Research has shown a possible link between 'heading the ball' and developing MND.

If someone had told me if you play football you've got a chance of getting MND or dementia or whatever, I would still have played football.

But I'm not in charge and somebody there has the authority to say you know what, we're going to stop heading or stop doing this or that, but they just won't do it for fear of some sort of backlash. And that's insanity to me.

– Lenny Johnrose
Johnrose's symptoms have made walking more difficult. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

European football's governing body says that it "places the highest priority on player welfare" and has commissioned two studies into the effect of heading the ball.

Symptoms of MND can include weakness in muscles as well as cramps, twitches and slurred speech.

Getting dressed is hard work, having baths and showers is hard work. Using my hands is getting more difficult.

– Lenny Johnrose

Johnrose's symptoms have stopped him from working, but he remains positive and is determined to enjoy life.

He plans to visit every football league club to raise awareness of the condition.