[ti:Study Raises New Concerns of Dementia from Playing Professional Football]
[00:00.00]A study of former professional football players in Scotland
[00:04.71]finds that they were more likely to die from dementia than any other cause.
[00:11.55]The results bring attention to the risks of head injuries from playing the sport Americans call soccer.
[00:21.04]Researchers from the University of Glasgow reported the results in the New England Journal of Medicine.
[00:30.20]They compared the causes of death of 7,676 Scottish men who played professional soccer
[00:38.88]with 23,028 similar men from the general population.
[00:45.96]The men were all born between 1900 and 1976.
[00:53.28]Over 18 years of study, 1,180 players and 3,807 of the other group died.
[01:04.52]The players had a lower risk of death from any cause until age 70.
[01:12.12]However, they had a 3.4 times higher rate of death from diseases affecting the brain,
[01:19.18]such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.
[01:23.88]Former players also were more likely to receive dementia medicines than people in the other group were.
[01:32.88]Doctor Robert Stern is a scientist with Boston University.
[01:39.04]He studies sports-related brain injuries.
[01:43.96]He noted that the findings were about professional players.
[01:48.46]He said they might not apply to those who play for fun, college players or women.
[01:57.12]Stern said parents "should focus on the...health benefits
[02:01.55]from exercise and participation in a sport that their children enjoy."
[02:08.16]He added that parents should still consider the risks of heading – hitting the ball with one's head.
[02:17.08]Stern's comments were published with the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
[02:24.52]Greg Clark is chairman of the English Football Association.
[02:30.36]The organization helped support the study.
[02:33.64]Clark said, "The whole game must recognize that this is only the start of our understanding
[02:41.79]and there are many questions that still need to be answered."
[02:47.40]The English Football Association's medical advisory group
[02:51.62]has not said it is necessary to change how the game is played.
[02:57.96]Officials across all levels of soccer can stop games for three minutes to fully examine head injuries.
[03:07.36]However, some experts believe that is not long enough.
[03:13.28]The English Football Association also is pushing soccer's worldwide lawmaking body
[03:19.97]to permit substitutions for players who suffer concussions during gameplay.
[03:27.44]The family of former England soccer player Jeff Astle is leading efforts
[03:33.24]to learn more about the long-term effects of head injuries in football.
[03:40.24]Astle died at age 59 in 2002.
[03:46.48]His death is believed to be related to repeatedly hitting heavy, leather balls with his head.
[03:54.96]In 2017, a British study of the brains of a small number of retired players
[04:01.68]who developed dementia brought attention to the damage
[04:05.91]possibly caused by repeated strikes on the head.
[04:11.08]I'm Jonathan Evans.