England manager Gareth Southgate has volunteered to be part of a study looking into the potential links between dementia and playing soccer.
The 50-year-old is part of the HEADING study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which is backed by the Football Association and funded by the Drake Foundation.
The potential link between increased risk of neurodegenerative disorder and a career in the game has been highlighted again in recent months following confirmation of England World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton’s dementia diagnosis.
That came along with the death of his brother Jack and their 1966 teammate Nobby Stiles, who had both been suffering with dementia when they died.
The study is looking for members of the Professional Footballers’ Association aged 50 and over to take part.
The research is largely done online and over the telephone at present due to coronavirus restrictions.
Southgate, a former England international defender himself, said: “This is an incredibly important issue in our game and I’m very happy to play my part in supporting this research.
“Having turned 50 last year, I am now eligible to take part in the HEADING study, which could provide crucial and valuable insight to help people who play the game now and in the future.
“I would encourage any former professional footballer who is willing and able to take part in the HEADING or the FOCUS study to do so.
“Our involvement is absolutely essential if we are to have a greater understanding of this issue.”