Football cannot look the other way on brain disease


The SFA’s impending ban on under-12s heading the ball in training is European football’s first step in reacting to the research into brain disease and death toll of former footballers from dementia.  The most comprehensive study into the subject, conducted at Glasgow University, found footballers more than three times more likely to die from degenerative brain disease than the rest of the population.

The problem for the game’s administrators is that it will take decades for the consequences of what is happening now in the game to be measurable.  Footballs are lighter than they were 40 years ago.  This may reduce the incidence of brain disease, but we will not know anytime soon.

The decision to exclude under-12s is arbitrary; there is no evidence that children under-12 are any more vulnerable than older children.  Conversely, we know they cannot fire the ball into the air with the same force.  It therefore seems unlikely this decision will have any impact on the health of football players, more it is an acceptance that, faced with scientific evidence, football needs to do something.

The game will change before this matter is finished.  Balls may become lighter or rules on heading could become complicated.  Research suggests that the genetic makeup of some people make them more prone to suffer degenerative brain disease following head trauma than others.  We could soon be able to find out which players have a genetic profile that makes them vulnerable from heading the ball.

There is plenty for the administrators, clubs and players’ unions to do in this area.  We have lost too many heroes to look the other way.

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  1. TIMALOY29 on 16TH JANUARY 2020 5:14 PM



    38 games on right wing ?



    When – under 16s ?



    Cannae see that. But no doubt u will have the stats.




  2. ‘You shake my nerves and you rattle my Brain’ to quote the lyrics of the Jerry Lee Lewis classic aptly describes my experience of heading the old wet leather football – I probably did not have the knack of doing it proberly. In my youth it was mostly Gaelic games I played ie football and hurling and soccer on occasions. The new findings about dementia and heading the football are not entirely new and have been in the news on previous occasions.

  3. The Battered Bunnet on

    You’re acting funny, try to spend my money


    You out there playing your high class games


    Soro, Soro.

  4. The hands that hit



    Some very good posts, i think we’re in a position of our own making, if i was Lenny I’d be pushing for a couple of experienced EPL loans to get us over the line. I wasn’t impressed with our summer recruitment until we added Forster and Elyounoussi, two experienced pro’s. Of course if Elyounoussi hadn’t got injured we’d be saying how these 2 have been our best signings.


    The one thing they both have is experience, a word i like better is pedigree.



    Which brings us nicely too, Bayo, Shved, Arzani, Kouassi etc, if anyone is relying on any of these players to make a meaningful contribution then they are off their heads.



    In the summer before a ball was kicked we had Turkeybhoy, Corkcelt, and either Stebhoy or Stephbhoy telling us how good a squad we had, the above players were all mentioned even names like Okoflex was being mentioned 🙈as if they were ready to compete fully for 9 in a row. I challenged these posts at every mention, i wasn’t popular, i was posting a negative that couldn’t be proved until well into the season, then everyone’s forgotten, well except me of course.



    My thoughts were that Celtic was by far the highest level these players had played at, these players have hardly played one full season between them, i argued that the same players who got us 8 would be used, these players have achieved, so little in their fledgling careers, their is nothing to sugggest, these guys are capable of producing when the pressure is lower never mind a title run in. I’m not relying on any of these players, although i did have high hopes for Shved myself but reservations physique wise. Just like I do for our new bhoy Patryk.



    Are posters really relying on Arzani for the next 5 months after been out for so long having never played in our league and having no career pedigree or experience, thats not mismanagement that’s crazy. My boy had a ACL cruciate whilst playing reserve football for a then EPL club, was never really fully right, always not confident in it holding, said the feel from the pin took a while to get used too, not the same movement, doubts mentally, yet these guys can be relied upon going down the final straight?



    It’s a gamble i certainly wouldn’t be taking with my neck on the line and be in no doubt the manager’s and the CEOs certainly are although i have far more sympathy for the manager.

  5. SID 16TH JANUARY 2020 6:54 PM



    Nobody is saying Arzani for 5 months. They are saying Arzani, Shved and a variety of tactical options for the next couple week’s.

  6. We have a good squad Sid. Look at the highlights of our reserves yesterday against Chelsea, Some superb football.


    As for our first team, We are having a super year, only problem is so are Sevco.


    Qualified from Europa with 2 games to spare, beat Lazio Home & Away, League Cup in the Trophy Cabinet.


    If Sevco were playing at last years standard there would be no discussion, we would be delighted with ourselves and the only item for discussion would be how far would we go in the Europa.


    The Celtic Park defeat by Sevco was a sickener and it has created the mood music on the blog since,


    However one bad result does not make us a bad team overnight.

  7. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Agree with every word of this article’s title Pablo.



    It’s up to football.



    That said, the SFA planted story is typical of them.



    Generates a headline.



    In the meantime, this not fit for purpose organisation piddles along.



    Leads on, or delivers, ZERO.



    They PR’ed that they champion women’s football – They don’t. (nor men’s when it comes to it).



    They PR’ed that they champion equality – They don’t.



    Further transparency around strategies, appointments and processes? NADA.



    What’s their exposure on this latest ruse?



    Send a few letters saying



    “Dear committee / team / coach, (cc SMSM) – tell yir weans not to heid the ba’. Aye, the lassies tae. It’s bad for you and we are committed to blah blah”



    Then self congratulate on an excellent week’s work and head down the lodge.

  8. SID on 16TH JANUARY 2020 7:15 PM



    So your agreeing with me, you wouldn’t be relying on them either, wise






    I do think he deserves his chance to shine though. Terrible to do your acl 20 mins into your debut

  9. BIG WAVY on 16TH JANUARY 2020 6:37 PM


    Beyond Soro, any decent transfer rumours for the next wans?






    Sissako a CB from PSG, Campbell a striker from Stoke City, Poveda a RW from Manchester City reserves

  10. Jury totally out on Arzani & Shved, but they both deserve a chance, With Mikey & Elyounoussi out, and a Cup game against Thistle, it is an ideal opportunity to play one or the other. As for the next 5 months we play the players who are doing it on the field if that includes Shved and /or Arani we play them if it doesn’t we don’t.

  11. Corkcelt



    Our reserves in general play at lower end championship level at best, results have proven that, regardless of yesterday. Our recent draw with Thistle our 3 nil defeat to Clyde, my friend Danny Lennon with a cameo at 50, our defeat in Irn bru cup.



    Yes we have improved but who has improved us, the same main core with Forster, Elyounoussi, El Ahmed, (all experienced pedigree signings) certainly not the names i mentioned who combined have produced the sum of, zero nil, nada. My point was relying on players who have never been playing at this level before and suddenly producing when the heat is on.



    Would you rely on Arzani, Shved, Kouassi, Bayo, Okoflex , with your neck on the line?

  12. Regarding the leader. Dementia, Alzheimer’s and MND are all much more prevalent today than when I was growing up (I’m 60). Was MND even a thing?



    I remain skeptical about the link of heading the ball to Dementia. Why? I know loads of people who played football day and night, headers galore with heavy leather balls then Mould masters. Heck I was one of them.



    And yet, the MAJORITY of people I personally know with dementia are women.



    My dad suffered from Vascular dementia before he passed away. That was related to his heart. His younger sister has been in care (more like incarcerated) for over 6 years with dementia. Unable to recognise her family for the most of that time. The other sister is younger than both and has no signs of dementia at all.



    My personal take on these new and extremely debilitating forms of what used to be classified as “forgetfulness” is two fold.



    Firstly we are living longer (though both my Grannies were nearing 90 before there passing and neither suffered from dementia. Sharp as a tack until the end).



    Secondly – artificial sweeteners, or indeed artificial lots of things we eat. Maybe I’m in flat earth territory with that; but it’s the one thing that I know has changed significantly in our diets from years gone by. Personally I don’t like the taste and happy to take my (known) chances with the side effects of real sugar.



    Now, I included MND in my opening paragraph. Last year I lost a friend / ex-colleague to MND at the age of 53. Another family friend lost to MND last month in his 40s. I think there is a correlation to Dementia and Alzheimer’s.



    Of course, all I’ll-informed speculation on my part. But I don’t like to see the focus on these diseases being all about football (rugby in the case of Doddie Weir).



    If it helps to bring in money to fund research then brilliant. But the research has to cover the whole spectrum.

  13. Has there ever been a player who had (at least) 3 potential songs lined up even before he signed? So will it be…


    Sorrow (David Bowie)


    Sunshine on Leith (Procalaimers)


    Zorro [a fox so cunning and free!] (Nae idea)

  14. Sorry Bada,



    You’re too young. “Sorrow” was originally by The Merseybeats.




  15. glendalystonsils on

    Neither Arzani or Shved have played one full game for the first team . If James Forrest’s recent game v Sevco was the only game he had played for the first team , how many would pick him for the next one?

  16. Timaloy



    You have to earn the right to shine, he’s not been getting the chance because their is better in front of him, really is that simple. Coming back from an ACL takes time for anyone, but Arzani, has to do it never having played at this level, been out for over a year, never having played in our league. Remember it took him months to make the bench before his injury.



    He’s not in my reckoning because i reckon we’ll get nothing tangible from him, when you see what Morgan produced despite been ahead of these guys its frightening.

  17. Sid, All I’m going with is that Lenny singled out Arzani & Shved from the Dubai trip as having really impressed.


    Mikey & Elyounoussi are out. WE are playing Thistle in the Cup, why not give them a chance if they mess it up, then that’s it.

  18. Corkcelt



    We’re on the same page then we’re in agreement, that was my point in the summer, even more pertinent now. They might all turn out to be top players although i doubt it, what i would say with conviction is you’ll not get much if anything tangible out of any of them at least consistently for the next 5 months and that is what we require.



    I’m happy to go on record and say i think Sevco will finish on minimum 94 points, so imo we need at least that to prevail, no room for passengers or bedding players in.

  19. SID on 16TH JANUARY 2020 7:40 PM



    You have to earn the right to shine, he’s not been getting the chance because their is better in front of him, really is that simple.






    Its not that simple. He’s only just returned to fitness this winter break.



    Most young players get their chances due to injuries. Certainly was the case for McGregor and Christie.



    Neil Lennon has been impressed with how Arzani and Shved have trained

  20. Corkcelt



    Nothing wrong in having a look against Thistle, however a couple of nice touches and our fans would be wanting them replacing Forrest. I agree with the hands don’t hit, we need another established better player to give Jamesie a challenge because for the next 6 months these guys aren’t up to it, imo.