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Football players at increased risk of dementia, study finds

Top football players, with the exception of goalkeepers, have been at an increased risk of developing dementia over the course of a century compared to the general population, according to a major Swedish study released Friday.

Experts said the study provided “strong evidence” for a link between the world’s most popular sport and an increased risk of degenerative brain diseases, a link already highlighted by the 2020 death of world champion Nobby Stiles in 1966 to England and a dementia sufferer. , as well as in other cases involving sports such as rugby, American football or hockey, due to blows suffered by players.

The study, published in The Lancet Public Health, analyzed the medical records of more than 6,000 Swedish Premier League players between 1924 and 2019. The incidence of degenerative brain disease was then compared with that of 56,000 Swedes.

The risk is 1.5 times higher in football players

Football players had a 1.5 times higher risk of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia than the control group. The exception to the study are goaltenders, as they do not make goals.

“This study supports the hypothesis that heading explains this link” between football and brain disease, study lead author Peter Ueda of Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet told AFP.

This is the largest study done on the subject since the 2019 Scottish study found that football players were 3.5 times more likely to develop degenerative brain diseases than the general population.

Source: Le Parisien

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