World Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst said he supports a ban on children wielding soccer balls after his teammates suffered extensive dementia diagnoses and deaths.
Sir Bobby Charlton, his brother Jack, Ray Wilson, Martin Peters, and Nobby Stiles – all members of the page from 1966 – were all diagnosed with the disease, and Jack Charlton, Wilson, Peters, and Stiles all died in the last two and – a half Years.
Former England national teammate and West Bromwich Albion striker Jeff Astle died in 2002 at the age of 59 from what one coroner described as an “accident at work”.
The results of the FIELD study, which was jointly funded by the FA and the Professional Footballers Association, found that footballers were at a significantly higher risk of developing a range of neurodegenerative diseases compared to the general population.
Sir Geoff, 78, told this Daily mirrorHe believes that frequent headers in games and training contributed to the fact that large numbers of players from that era ultimately developed Alzheimer’s disease.
He told the newspaper, “There seems to be a certain group of people who have suffered. I’m going back to my training days at West Ham, we had a ball hanging from the ceiling, we’d lead it for 20 minutes.
“Then we’d be playing head tennis in the gym and practicing on the pitch near the post and far post and you could be playing 20 or 30 balls in half an hour.”
Sir Geoff said banning children from running the ball was “a very strong and reasonable proposition”.
The former striker said he was “absolutely” ready to donate his brain to dementia research after his death.
His comments come after the football association said it had a “clear and unwavering commitment” to fighting dementia after the von Stiles family failed to “address” the in-game disease scandal.
The family made a statement, which was posted on the BBC Sport website, stating that there was an “urgent need for action” and that older players had been “largely forgotten”, many of whom were ill.
The association believes that more cooperation is needed between the governing bodies of football to better understand the problem.
A statement said: “The association has helped advance groundbreaking research into the interactions between football and we have a clear and unwavering commitment, both financially and resources, to the objective, robust and thorough research into Support future.
“Collaboration between the governing bodies of football is key to better understanding this important issue together and we strongly believe that all areas of football should come together for this important purpose.”