Alan Shearer fumed at FA's failure to tackle football’s dementia links: ‘Not good enough'

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The Newcastle legend returned to screens to play a key part in the BBC’s coverage of Italy vs Spain in the Euro 2020 semi-final. Shearer remains the Premier League’s record goalscorer and was inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this year, but he has detailed his concern for professional footballers who have been heading the ball for years. In 2017, the 50-year-old took an MRI scan during his touching documentary ‘Dementia, Football and Me,’ which thankfully showed “everything looking normal”.

Shearer was relieved at the time, but the programme also opened his eyes up to others who have been affected by the illness.

He said: “I met former footballers and their families who live with the disease, spoke to scientists and doctors about the research that is taking place, and took part in tests myself.

“As someone who played the game for 20 years, and sometimes headed the ball up to 100 times a day in training, I knew that if there was a danger, then I was one of those who could be at risk.

“What touched me the most was meeting retired players, and their relatives, who are living with dementia.

“It made me realise that this is a horrific disease that does not just affect those who have it, but the people around them too.

“People like Dawn Astle, daughter of Jeff Astle, the former West Brom and England striker who suffered from dementia before dying at the age of 59 in 2002.”

At the inquest into Astle’s death, the coroner said the damage to his brain had been caused by years of heading a football.

Shearer was determined to highlight the issues after his frustration with a lack of action from the FA in the 15 years on from Astle’s death.

The documentary led to the FA and PFA announcing that they would jointly commission a “study into the long-term effects of head injuries in football”.

READ MORE: Alan Shearer dubbed ‘woke’ after questioning old Newcastle chant ‘sung by thousands’ 

The 2019 FIELD examination found former footballers are approximately three and a half times more likely to die from the neurodegenerative disease than the general population.

It comes after five of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning side have, or have had, the disease.

But Shearer called for more to be done.

He told the Sun: “Nowhere near enough research has been done.

“The authorities have been reluctant to find out answers. They have swept it under the carpet, which is not good enough.

“For every goal I scored with a header during a game, I must have practised it 1,000 times in training. That must put me at risk if there is a link.

“Never did I think playing football could be linked to having a brain disease. That is why the research has to be done.”

The FA said earlier this year that more studies will be commissioned to understand the increased risk of dementia among professional footballers.



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