Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

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Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby hammerdivone on Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:01 pm

I know this has a small discussion going on in the Music, Film & TV Forum but if you didn't watch it last night and you have played amateur football over the years then well worth a watch.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09g0gzk/alan-shearer-dementia-football-and-me

What strikes me is that the connection seems more and more obvious, although it is difficult without the correct research being done (and why hasn't it?) to know whether dementia risks increase with constant heading, or whether it is concussion related.

Either way one thing that concerned me was whilst it is great that Shearer is pushing the agenda, he is only doing so for ex-Pro's when there are hundreds of thousands of amateur footballers out there at the same risk.

As a kid back in the 70's we used to train once a week but often play Saturdays and Sundays. As we played for better teams and up to semi-pro level we were training twice a week and playing Saturday and for the 'pub' team on a Sunday. I don't think we headed the ball much less than the Pros did and I'm damn sure the balls we used were a darn sight heavier than anything they played with.

No doubt the PFA/FA etc will look after their own, but who will look after us?
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby Hampshire Hammer on Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:13 pm

I couldn't see the discussion in the Music and TV Forum but I'm aiming to catch up on this.

There is an ex-pro in the same care hone as my father-in-law, the pro has early onset dementia in his early sixties. I was talking to his daughter and apparently they've written to the PFA to ask about research but had no response.

It is a fair point about those of us who played a lot but weren't professional, we could easily have headed the ball just as much but not had the medical care that the professionals did.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby swash on Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:20 pm

Definitely a worry, spent my entire playing days at centre-back, so god knows how many times I headed the ball. Even as a kid, we used to spend hours playing headers and volleys over the local playing fields.

Scares the **** out of me to be honest, as I've seen my Dad suffer from dementia until he eventually passed away earlier this year, and ending up in a home wearing nappies and not knowing who anybody is, is frankly terrifying
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby fjthegrey on Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:22 pm

I'm banking on them having a cure by the time it comes around for me.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby hammerdivone on Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:29 pm

One of the big question that should be asked especially since the Jeff Astle Coroners Report, is FIFA, UEFA and the FA lacking in their duty of care to the sports participants?

Given there are stong, if currently unsubstantiated links between heading and dementia, and that young girls experience concussion more than young boys, and that children suffer more 'wobbling of the brain' inside the skull, as they have larger heads and smaller necks should we stop kids heading for the time being?
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby Up the Junction on Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:33 pm

Didn't see the doc but there's no comparison between the balls Astle et al used to head and modern, lightweight footballs.

And I find it unlikely that the vast majority of am. players, with their one hour of training + match p/wk are going to suffer too many problems as a result.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby Collison Theory on Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:40 pm

Up the Junction wrote:Didn't see the doc but there's no comparison between the balls Astle et al used to head and modern, lightweight footballs.

And I find it unlikely that the vast majority of am. players, with their one hour of training + match p/wk aren't going to suffer too many problems as a result.


The standard weight of a football hasn't changed. In fact, Shearer did a test with the old ball and said it seemed lighter. The only major difference was that the old ones would be heavier when wet.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby swash on Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:41 pm

Kids can play a lot more than 1 match per week though, I used to play in school teams/scout teams/house teams at school, so could easily clock up 3 games per week, plus more hours over the playing fields with my mates, so I do feel that the kids angle needs to be considered closely.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby Up the Junction on Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:07 pm

Collison Theory wrote:The standard weight of a football hasn't changed. In fact, Shearer did a test with the old ball and said it seemed lighter. The only major difference was that the old ones would be heavier when wet.

Which is a fairly major one, given that football is predominantly played in the winter (hence almost constantly wet, heavier footballs).

swash wrote:Kids can play a lot more than 1 match per week though.

How many headers do you see on average during an Academy match, swash?
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby swash on Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:18 pm

How many headers do you see on average during an Academy match, swash?

Fair point, I was thinking more about the prehistoric times when I was a youngster
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby hammernsickle on Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:33 pm

Andy Carroll is ****ed.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby hammerdivone on Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:05 pm

Up the Junction wrote:Which is a fairly major one, given that football is predominantly played in the winter (hence almost constantly wet, heavier footballs).


As Collison mention the weight of the older balls is slightly less than the new ones, however when wet they almost doubled in weight. What is interesting is that the older balls did have a coating on the leather when new and of course at Pro level they would then take a bit longer to get waterlogged. When we played they had no coating at all so got waterlogged in the warm up!

Up the Junction wrote:How many headers do you see on average during an Academy match, swash?


The game is different today to what it used to be I think, with the ball played along the ground a lot more than it used to be.

Up the Junction wrote:And I find it unlikely that the vast majority of am. players, with their one hour of training + match p/wk are going to suffer too many problems as a result.


As I said, we used to train twice a week (for more than an hour) and play two games a week on average.

The other issue as mentioned is kids brains have less protection so the one hour per week and one game could be enough to cause damage, we just don't know right now down to lack of commitment by the authorities to fund research.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby Paddy O'Hammer on Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:09 pm

No word from the purists yet?

I'd be tempted to tell my U14, U16 and U17 lads not too bother!
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby RichieRiv on Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:07 pm

Although it's commendable that this topic is being discussed on mainstream TV, care must be taken not to pigeon hole this as a football problem suffered by footballers heading balls.

Dementia is a hugh problem is this country and watching someone suffer from it is heartbreaking. Having lost my dad last year to Lewy Bodies Dementia - who incidently never played football in his life - it's certainly needs more exposure, so I welcome this documentary as long as it doesn't get looked at as a football problem.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby The Old Man of Storr on Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:21 pm

RichieRiv wrote:. Having lost my dad last year to Lewy Bodies Dementia - who incidently never played football in his life - it's certainly needs more exposure, so I welcome this documentary as long as it doesn't get looked at as a football problem.


I agree - otherwise research into the subject will lose its focus .
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby hammerdivone on Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:27 pm

Richie, I lost my Nan and my Mum (both Hammers fans) to dementia so completely agree.

But this is about whether it increases the chances of getting dementia over the general population.

It is also questioning whether damage is caused by the actual heading of the ball, or concussion related as in other sports such as Rugby, American Football, Boxing etc.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby Marky on Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:55 pm

RichieRiv wrote:Although it's commendable that this topic is being discussed on mainstream TV, care must be taken not to pigeon hole this as a football problem suffered by footballers heading balls.

Dementia is a hugh problem is this country and watching someone suffer from it is heartbreaking. Having lost my dad last year to Lewy Bodies Dementia - who incidently never played football in his life - it's certainly needs more exposure, so I welcome this documentary as long as it doesn't get looked at as a football problem.


Completely agree my gran has it at the moment. Seems to be far more common now then it was in the 70s 80 90s but maybe I wasnt aware as much
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby 3times on Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:18 pm

Lucky I was ***** in the air so rarely won a header!
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby rainhamtown on Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:51 pm

I wonder if banning heading the ball may actually improve the game anyway. It would mean you had to go through the middle on the floor like Barca and early 2000's Arsenal.
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Re: Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

Postby Monkeybubbles on Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:54 pm

Here's a secret: I have dementia.

It's a bitch.

I'm 53, and had a small stroke a few years back. Probably had a few minor episodes before and since. As a consequence I've developed vascular dementia, apparently. My balance is a bit shonky, my concentration is all over the shop, my memory is shot. I have a bunch of coping strategies, so it's not too bad. An old head on young shoulders.

Still, I can head the ball like a mutha. Might as well now.
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