A UK university found that heading a soccer ball can damage mental health. Researchers found that ex-professional football players are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia. The researchers compared the deaths of 7,676 ex-professional players who played between 1900 and 1976 to those of 23,000 people who did not play football. They found that the ex-players suffered from a lot more brain injuries.
Football associations in the UK requested the research after the death of a player in 2002. Doctors said he died after "repeated minor brain traumas". The doctors said heading a ball could cause this. A researcher said ex-football players were more likely to suffer from diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. He said they were less likely to die of common diseases, like heart disease and lung cancer.