Football

Footballer's death linked to heading the ball

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The possibility of long-term damage caused by heading the ball has been linked to a former players' death, according to the Independent.

Patrick Grange from Albuquerque in America was a semi-professional player who was in line to become a MLS player. He died aged 29 from motor neurone disease, and the doctor who examined his brain explained that his head had been damaged from heading the ball.

Although this wasn't the main cause of death, the doctor linked it with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which affects NFL players and boxers. These sports involve excessive physical contact with the head.

The player's parents have said that their son had taken part in special heading practice from as young as three, as well has having several collisions on the field, some requiring stitches.

Head injuries is something that is now being taken more seriously in sport. In football, Petr Cech's incident with Reading's Stephen Hunt forced the sport to look more seriously at the issue. Hugo Lloris caused controversy when he returned to the pitch after suffering concussion when he collided with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.

At the Winter Olympics, several athletes suffered concussion with some pulling out the competition, for example British athlete Rowan Cheshire.

It's not the first time that head injuries have been blamed for footballing deaths. In Britain, Billy McPhail claimed that constant heading the ball lead to his suffering dementia. Jeff Astle's death was due to "industrial disease" from repeatedly heading the ball reported an inquest.

A film based on research from Boston University on the effects of headers and head injuries will be released in America next month.


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