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Nobby Stiles’ dementia caused by ‘heading ball over a sustained period’

Nobby Stiles’ family have been told that the dementia which the England World Cup winner suffered from prior to his death was caused by heading during his football career.

Stiles died in October aged 78 after a long illness with the disease and his family donated his brain to a study examining links between football and dementia.

After completing his analysis, Willie Stewart, the doctor leading the research, confirmed the family’s fears that the damage Stiles, who also lifted the European Cup with Manchester United, suffered ‘could only have been caused by heading the ball over a sustained period’.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Stiles’s son John said: ‘On Friday, Dr Stewart told us that he’d completed his analysis. He told us that the damage to my dad’s brain was very severe. It confirmed what he had believed for a long time.

‘My father suffered an industrial injury that proved fatal. Although the family had suspected that dad’s illness and death had been caused by his profession, it still comes as a shock to have this confirmed by Dr Stewart, especially given the shameful failure of the PFA to address this issue.’

Dr Stewart told the Mail: ‘CTE — chronic traumatic encephalopathy — is a progressive degenerative disease only found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma. Brain injury and head impacts are the only recognised risk factors. We don’t find CTE in patients with dementia unless there is a story of brain injury or head impacts.

‘That’s why we see it in people who play football and rugby, and who box. The common theme is head impact. With Nobby, the CTE was widespread throughout and at a high stage. He presented a story which was entirely typical of someone with CTE. All of the pathologies you would expect to see were there.’  

Original Source

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Heading the ball led to Stiles’ brain damage, family told