Local football star and Ex-Southend United Captain Adam Barrett believes life is ‘too short’ to worry about the link between heading a football and dementia but suggests more research needs to take place.
“Life’s too short as it is to start worrying about what might happen. I could get dementia without ever heading a ball. I think more research needs to be done to confirm if there’s a strong link between heading a football and dementia.”
Barrett, who made over 300 appearances for the Blues, also expressed how the rise in this issue doesn’t scare him because he was able to have the chance to play the game he loves.
“This would not worry me or change the way I played, football is a game I enjoyed, and I know there’s risk of injury, but I believe in doing things for now.”
This is an issue that many believed to have been ignored since Alan Shearer’s documentary, ’Football Dementia and Me’, investigating the subject was aired last weekend. In the documentary, Alan Shearer, who is the Premier-League’s highest ever goalscorer, explored how he believed there isn’t enough awareness, something that Adam Barrett agreed with.
“I think there could be more awareness, so that people know the risks.”
Defender Barrett, who got the Shrimpers promoted to the Championship from League two, expressed how many times he headed the ball a week, which highlighted the impact the head may have been taking.
“I used to head the ball on average 60-100 times a week.”
The link between Dementia and heading a football has started to become a bigger issue after the number of ex-footballers that have been diagnosed with the disease years down the line.
This includes over three players who were part of Tottenham’s double-winning team in 1960-61 as well as at least three players from England’s 1966 winning World Cup team. The most famous being ex-England striker Jeff Astle of which an inquest into his death revealed he died from Dementia caused by heading footballs. This started the investigation into how much damaged heading a football can cause.
Dementia UK said they were unable to comment on this issue.