In a recent interview, ex-footballer Chris Nicholl has revealed he believes his memory has been affected by his career and by frequently heading a ball.
Speaking to the Daily Mail about his experience, Chris commented, “I know I’m brain damaged from heading footballs, I used to head 100 balls almost every day. When I was at Aston Villa I would watch my team-mates going home in their cars and I would still be there on the pitch with Ray Grayden who used to send them long. It’s definitely affected my memory. The balls were a lot heavier then.”
A recent study published by the University of Stirling that showed heading a ball 20 times can cause ‘small but significant changes to brain function’.
The danger of head injuries (including concussion in sport) has hit the media recently as our understanding and awareness of head injuries increases and the very real problems players could face further down the line.
Recently Hull City player, Ryan Mason, was left with a skull fracture following a collision with another player on the pitch when they both went in to head a ball at the same time. Mason is currently recovering in St Mary’s Hospital in London and is making good progress.
With more and more instances coming to light, it is important that sports clubs take responsibility for their players and ensure that the risks of concussion and ongoing problems from head injuries are minimised and players are protected from future problems, such as those experienced by Chris. This is not just in football, but in all sports, including rugby and other contact sports.