Today (Wednesday 8 December), The Football Association (FA) in association with The Premier League, The English Football League, and the Players Association have released a document summarising a joint action plan on understanding, promoting and protecting brain health in English football.
What is in the document?
The document outlines three separate workstreams to better understand, protect and protect brain health in English football.
- Research to better understand why former professional footballers are at greater risk of neurodegenerative disease
- Education and awareness
- Supporting players of today and also those with diseases like Alzheimer’s.
What are the next steps?
The new document represents the start of a period of consultation in which the FA will seek views from outside the organisation regarding future work.
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s reaction
Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“As the UK’s leading dementia research charity, we welcome a joint action plan on understanding, promoting and protecting brain health in English football put forward by the FA’s research task force. We’ve been calling for stakeholders in the footballing world to come together since evidence shed light on the link between football and dementia. We recognise this collaborative approach is a step forward, and this plan must now be delivered in earnest.
“Understanding, promoting, and protecting brain health throughout life is important. We know exercise has huge benefits for brain health and Alzheimer’s Research UK are currently undertaking a wide-ranging review to investigate the links between sport and dementia risk in more detail.
“Dementia isn’t an inevitable part of getting older and there are steps we can take to look after our brains. Ultimately, we want everyone to know the key ingredients to good brain health and to empower them to act on that knowledge.
“As a charity we work with our partners to supply the Think Brain Health e-learning programme, an interactive and engaging tool to raise vital understanding of dementia and teach employees about how improving brain health can help reduce their risk of developing the condition.”