Professional gamers triple the risk of dementia

Professional gamers triple the risk of dementia


  • In football, a header can result in injury.
  • In this study, 386 out of 7,676 gamers suffered from neurodegenerative disease, compared to 366 out of 23,028 in the control group.
  • According to WHO, 50 million people worldwide have dementia.

Sport protects health, but what happens when it is practiced at a high level? According to researchers from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, it can be dangerous. According to his recent work, published in jamaFormer professional football players are more likely to suffer from dementia years after their career breaks.

A former player who died in 2002

In 2002, former striker Jeff Astle died of a neurodegenerative disease at the age of 59. An investigation has shown that there is a link between his brain damage and the number of head shots he has received in his career. This case was the starting point for the Scottish studies. The researchers wanted to understand the impact of head games on players’ brain health in the long run. To achieve this, he compared the deaths of 7,676 former players to 23,000 others, this time in relation to the general population. All players had practiced in Scotland, and were born between 1900 and 1976.

Professional sports: high risk, but protective effect

According to the results, professional football players have a five times higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a four times higher risk of neuromotor disease and twice the risk of Parkinson’s disease than the general population. Their risk of suffering from a neurodegenerative disease such as dementia is about 3.5 times higher than that of the rest of the population. Depending on the position held and the length of the career, the risks vary: defenders are about five times more likely to suffer from neurodegenerative disease than the general population. He is the most exposed player in a team. Players who have played professional football for fifteen years or more are at higher risk than players with shorter careers. However, the researchers found that the sport has beneficial effects on players’ health in the long run: they have a lower risk of heart disease and are less exposed to certain cancers, such as lung cancer. “While every effort should be made to identify the factors that contribute to an increase in the risk of neurodegenerative disease in order to reduce it, we must also take into account all the potential health benefits associated with playing football.How, on the website of Dr. Willie Stewart, study author, BBC.

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limited to head shot training

The study was carried out at the request of two UK organisations: the English Football Federation and the Association of Professional Footballers. But this is not the first action by these organizations in raising awareness about the risks posed by players. Last July, the English Football Association published new recommendations For training soccer players: She advises them not to get more than ten supported head shots during a week of training. By “head butt”, it targets those following a pass or cross, corner or free kick longer than 35 meters.


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