Sir Alex Ferguson has said it is his personal duty and the game’s responsibility to address the problem of dementia that has impacted several former players.
The issue of dementia in the professional game was sparked by the death of former Manchester United and England star Nobby Stiles in October.
Stiles and many of his team-mates from the 1966 World Cup-winning side had been diagnosed with dementia before their deaths while United legend Bobby Charlton also announced his diagnosis recently.
It’s sad for the families, friends and fans and something needs to be done about it to ensure footballers today and in the future are kept safe doing what they love most.
“It’s been very sad. Bobby’s not been well for a while. The gates have been opened by Nobby’s passing and Bobby’s diagnosis. There are huge figures. It has top create an awareness,” Ferguson told the Daily Mail.
“I don’t know what the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) is doing but the League Managers Association is concerned and (chief executive) Richard Bevan has been fantastic.
“We have to see what we can do to help. Football has a duty to look at the situation… people like myself owe it to the game to see if there’s something we can do.”
There has been widespread calls to reduce heading during training sessions, as Adrian Chiles touched on in a recent column for the Guardian. Ferguson argues that heading can’t be removed from the game, though it could be reduced in training.
“Heading is part of football that has been there for over 100 years and you can’t take it out,” Ferguson said. “But I think it would be easy to reduce it in training.”
Something needs to be done and quickly.