A new study has revealed that football players are one and a half times more likely to develop dementia than the general population. The research, conducted by a team of experts from the Karolinska Institutet and other research centers in Sweden, compared the health records of 6,007 elite male football players with 56,168 non-footballers between 1924 and 2019.
Of the football players studied, which included 510 goalkeepers, 9% were diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease, while 6% of the control group were diagnosed with the same condition. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, The Lancet.
While the findings are concerning, it should be noted that there was no significant risk increase for footballers of contracting motor neurone disease, according to the study. In addition, the research also found that the risk of Parkinson’s disease and overall mortality was lower among football players compared to other people.
The study is one of the most comprehensive to date on the long-term health effects of football, and its findings are likely to have significant implications for the sport. Football has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, with concerns raised about the impact of head injuries and the long-term effects of playing the game at a professional level.
Despite the risks, football remains one of the most popular sports in the world, with millions of people playing the game at both amateur and professional levels. As such, it is important that steps are taken to minimize the risk of long-term health problems for players, and that further research is conducted to better understand the impact of the sport on the brain and overall health.