Potter: More research needed into football's dementia link

'I hope we get the answers that we would all like because it's an incredibly devastating disease.'

By Bruce Talbot • 22 November 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Graham Potter believes more research needs to be done into the link between dementia and heading a football.

Graham Potter says he supports calls for even more research into how heading footballs could put players at risk of suffering from dementia later in life.

Campaigners are lobbying the Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association to intensify investigations linking heading footballs and dementia and to provide respite care for ex-pros and their families who are suffering from the illness. 

Earlier this month it was revealed that Bobby Charlton is suffering from dementia, a few days after his brother Jack and another of England's World Cup winners Nobby Stiles had died from the illness. 

Potter played more than 300 professional games in 13 years before moving into coaching; and has also seen the devastating affect it can have from a personal point of view.

He said, "From my experience of dementia, there are so many unknowns that the more research we do the better because we could be in a situation in 50 years' time where we look back and think 'what were we doing that for?'

By Paul Hazlewood
West Brom boss Slaven Bilic has also discussed the issue recently, saying, "For me, the great thing is they are talking about it and recognising it."

“The quicker we get those findings and that work done the better. For younger players it is something we need to consider. I am just hoping that the research and the support is there to get the answers that we would all like because it's an incredibly devastating disease.”

Potter was asked about whether players needed to practice heading in training sessions. 

“If you play against a team that play long ball, defending those situations, players want to familiarise themselves with that. If you practise set plays, you might want to work on your timing and heading the ball. That can happen. 

“I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a need for it at all. If you are you going to practise, there is an argument that there should be a little bit [of heading] but not excessive.”

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