The FIELD Study published in the New England Journal of Medicine
23 October 2019
Dr Willie Stewart and colleagues have published a new study ‘Neurodegenerative Disease Mortality among Former Professional Soccer Players’ in the New England Journal of Medicine this week. The study looked at 8,000 professional footballers and compared them to 23,000 people in the general population. The results showed that former Professional footballers have a three and a half times higher rate of death due to neurodegenerative disease.
The wider health outcomes showed the same group had lower rates of other common illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer
The study was supported by the Football Association and the Professional Footballers Association.
The Football Association has set up an independently chaired Medical & Football Advisory Group which has recommended that the FA re-issues both the current FA Concussion Guidelines and best-practice advice for coaching heading, while also asking football to consider further steps to improve head injury management, for example by supporting UEFA’s proposals to introduce concussion substitutes.
Dr Willie Stewart contributed to the Sports and Concussion Expert Round Table, which formed the basis of the All Party Parliamentary Group’s report Time for Change. The report recommended that the Government should ensure that there is collaborative research to evaluate and improve practical assessment tools, develop objective diagnostic markers and gain a deeper understanding of the recovery process and long-term risks of sport-related concussion.
UKABIF supports the need for more research including studies to follow cognitive health over time.
You can read the APPG report here:
You can read a full copy of the new research paper here: