High-level footballers, except goalkeepers, have had a higher risk of developing dementia for a century than the general populationaccording to a Swedish study published on Friday.
A group of experts believe that this study provides “convincing evidence” of the relationship between the most popular sport in the world and the increased risk of degenerative brain problems.
This relationship that was already uncovered with the death in 2020 of Nobby Stilesworld champion in 1966 with England and who suffered from dementia, and with other cases registered in other sports such as rugby, American football and hockey, where blows to the head are frequent.
The study published by the scientific journal The Lancet Public Health analyzed the medical reports of more than 6,000 footballers in the Swedish first division championship between 1924 and 2019.
Later, the experts compared the rate of those affected by degenerative brain problems with that of a sample of 56,000 Swedes.
The soccer players had a 1.5 times higher risk of suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Goalkeepers are the exception in this study, since they do not suffer as many blows to the head as outfield players.
“This research confirms the hypothesis that headplay explains this relationship” between soccer and brain diseases, the lead author of the study told AFP, Peter Uedafrom the Swedish Karolinska Institutet.
It is the largest study carried out on this problem since another that was carried out in Scotland in 2019 and which concluded that footballers were 3.5 more likely to suffer neurodegenerative problems.
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