Top football players, with the exception of goalkeepers, have had a century-long increased risk of developing dementia compared to the general population, according to a large Swedish study published on Friday.
Experts felt that the study provided ” convincing evidence » the link between the most popular sport in the world and an increased risk of degenerative brain disorders, a link already highlighted by the death in 2020 of Nobby Stiles, world champion in 1966 with England and suffering from dementia, and by other cases concerning sports such as rugby, American football or ice hockey, because of the shocks suffered by the players.
The study published in the scientific journal The Lancet Public Health analyzed the medical records of more than 6,000 Swedish Premier League players from 1re division between 1924 and 2019.
She then compared the rate of occurrence of degenerative brain disorders to that of a sample of 56,000 Swedes. Football players had a 1.5 times higher risk than the control group of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Goalkeepers are an exception in the study, as they don’t make heads.
« This research supports the hypothesis that heading plays explain this link between football and brain disease, the study’s lead author Peter Ueda told AFP. Karolinska Institutet Swedish.
It is the largest study conducted on the subject since a 2019 Scottish study which suggested that footballers were 3.5 times more likely than the general population to develop degenerative brain disorders.
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