• Dawn Astle, daughter of former West Brom and England international Jeff Astle, who died with CTE in 2002, said families caring for loved ones need “substantial and long-term support”.
• A 2019 study found that former professional footballers are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than the general population.
Former footballers concerned about neurodegenerative diseases are being asked to come forward by the Professional Footballers’ Association.
It is seeking more evidence of a link between heading and brain injuries, and intends to improve support for players.
Both diagnosed and undiagnosed ex-players will be surveyed as the PFA pushes for a care fund.
It is also hoped brain injury chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) will be classed as an industrial disease.
Dawn Astle, daughter of former West Brom and England international Jeff Astle, who died with CTE in 2002, said families caring for loved ones need “substantial and long-term support”.
Astle is the PFA’s neurodegenerative diseases project lead and hopes the new consultation will “encourage more former players to come forward and help further demonstrate the sheer scale of the issue”.
Evidence from the survey — which will ask respondents if they are worried about memory and brain function - will be provided to the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), which could recommend that those affected receive benefits from the government.
Astle said of the IIAC: “After nearly two decades, they now need to recognise CTE as an industrial disease. The evidence is clear and it can’t be ignored any longer.”
The results of the consultation will also be used in ongoing discussions with leaders from across English football as the PFA seeks financial support for ex-players and their families.
A 2019 study found that former professional footballers are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than the general population.
New guidelines issued last July said professional footballers in England are to be limited to 10 “higher force headers” a week in training from the 2021-22 season.
In August, new research showed defenders are more likely to have dementia in later life compared with other playing positions in football.
Earlier this year, a dedicated care department for former players living with neurodegenerative disease (NDD) was set up by the Professional Footballers’ Association.