Nobby Stiles' brain injury caused by heading ball, doctor says

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 21, 2020, 07:50 PM(IST)

Nobby Stiles' brain injury caused by heading ball, doctor says Photograph:( Reuters )

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A doctor looking into the links between football and dementia has said that England’s World Cup-winning midfielder Nobby Stiles, who passed away aged 78 in October, suffered severe brain damage from repeatedly heading the ball. The latest development has once again raised question marks on whether heading should be banned during training sessions.

A doctor looking into the links between football and dementia has said that England’s World Cup winning midfielder Nobby Stiles, who passed away aged 78 in October, suffered severe brain damage from repeatedly heading the ball. The latest development has once again raised question marks on whether heading should be banned during training sessions.

Stiles, who played on the World Cup-winning team in 1966, had been diagnosed with dementia, like many of his teammates including Jack and Bobby Charlton.

Stiles’ family said that they had donated his brain to a research study led by neuropathologist Willie Stewart.

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“He told us that the damage to my dad’s brain was very severe and could only be explained by him heading the ball over the sustained period of his career,” Stiles’ son John told the Daily Mail.

“It confirmed what he had believed for a long time.”

According to Stewart, “brain injury and head impacts” were the only risk factors in the type of brain damage Stiles had suffered.

“With Nobby, there is no recorded history of him sustaining a brain injury or concussion,” he told the newspaper. “Hence we propose his risk came from heading the ball.

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“While he may have headed the ball a certain number of times in a match, like many others he would have been subject to countless impacts in training sessions. Every single impact could have caused damage.”

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has called on clubs and leagues of English football to chalk out a strategy to monitor and adapt training. They have asked the clubs to monitor and adapt training while coming up with techniques to protect the long-term health of players.

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