Headers linked to brain damage, study finds

Repeated blows to the head may lead to dementia in later life, according to research conducted by University College London and Cardiff University

Footballers may be prone to long-term brain damage due to repeated blows to the head, a study has found.

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Research was conducted following reports that heading heavy balls may leave players at risk of developing dementia in later life.

The Football Association has responded to the study, according to the BBC, with the promise that they will investigate the area.

The research, conducted in collaboration between University College London and Cardiff University, involved the examination of six people who played football for an average of a quarter of a century.

In post-mortems it was discovered that all six developed dementia in their later years, while four showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

"When we examined their brains at autopsy we saw the sorts of changes that are seen in ex-boxers, the changes that are often associated with repeated brain injury which are known as CTE,” Professor Huw Morris told the BBC.

"So really for the first time in a series of players we have shown that there is evidence that head injury has occurred earlier in their life which presumably has some impact on them developing dementia."

The study has been published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica.