HEADING – Health and Ageing Data IN the Game of football
Principal Investigators: Professor Neil Pearce, Dr Valentina Gallo, Professor Damien McElvenny
Co-Investigators: Dr Simon Kemp, Dr Sebastian Crutch, Professor Huw Morris, Professor Henrik Zetterberg, Dr Andrea Malaspina, Professor John Cherrie, Professor John Hardy, Dr Mike Loosemore, Dr Elizabeth Williamson
Institutions: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, Institute of Occupational Medicine, RFU, University College London
The HEADING Study is working with retired footballers to uncover associations between a history of heading the ball or concussion and neurodegenerative disease.
Former elite association football players over the age of 50 will be asked about their heading and football concussion history and data will be gathered on quality of life and social circumstances, with an extensive set of tests capturing physical and cognitive capabilities – including grip strength, memory and reasoning – and a neurological clinical examination to look for signs of disease. There will also be face-to-face assessments as well as blood samples taken for future analysis.
We hope this project will help increase our understanding of the long-term effects of heading and concussion on neurological health.
- Seghezzo G, Van Hoecke Y, James L et al. Feasibility study of assessing the Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (PACC) score via videoconferencing. J. Neurol. 268, 2228–2237 (2021).
- Basinas I, McElvenny DM, Pearce N et al. A systematic review of head impacts and acceleration associated with soccer. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 19, 5488 (2022).
News and Links:
- The influential Drake Foundation announces breakthrough scientific study examining the brain health of former professional association footballers
- Former England football captain heads call for brain health study volunteers