A UK university has found that heading a soccer ball can damage mental health. Experts from Glasgow University discovered that ex-professional football players are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than other people. The experts looked at whether heading a football could lead to brain damage. They analyzed the deaths of 7,676 professional players who played between 1900 and 1976. The team compared the deaths of the players to those of 23,000 people who did not play football. They found that the ex-players suffered from a lot more brain injuries.
The research was requested by two football associations in the UK. The associations made the request after the death of an English football player in 2002. His family was sure he died because of playing football. Doctors said he died after "repeated minor brain traumas". The doctors said heading a soccer ball could cause this. A researcher said his research showed that ex-football players were more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's disease, motor neurone disease and Parkinson's disease. He said they were less likely to die of common diseases, like heart disease and lung cancer.