Intended for healthcare professionals


Dementia risk in professional footballers is linked to player position and career length, study finds

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 02 August 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1934
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

The risk of neurodegenerative disease in former professional footballers varies by the position they play in and the length of their career—but not by which decade they played in—a landmark study has reported.1

The latest findings from the Field (“Football’s influence on lifelong health and dementia risk”) study show further major insights into the link between football and risk of dementia. Led by researchers at the University of Glasgow, the study previously found in 2019 that mortality from neurodegenerative disease was more than threefold higher than expected in former professional footballers.

In the latest phase of their work the researchers used data from the health records of around 7676 Scottish former professional footballers and 23 028 matched controls from the general population to look at whether the risk of neurodegenerative disease varied …

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