Why didn't PFA's Gordon Taylor do something years ago on the link between dementia and heading?

  • The Football Association announced on Thursday that they are commissioning research into possible links between heading and dementia
  • Study is called: 'Football's Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk'
  • Study is to look at physical and mental health outcomes of 15,000 ex-players
  • Many families of ex-players are struck down by this illness - like my dad Mike

The research we've been waiting so long for is finally commissioned. Now we have another two or three more years to wait for some kind of understanding of this subject.

We have to be patient while medical science takes its course but why are the governors of the game leading the commissioning? Why are our players' union not the sole drivers of this project? They should be the ones with the players' interests truly at heart.?

I want to question the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, face-to-face, about why the alarm bells were sounded in 2002 and yet we're hearing about an FA research project which will only deliver results in 2020. He seems untouchable. Everywhere you look there seem to be people overlooking what I consider to be Gordon Taylor's dereliction of duty.

PFA chief Gordon Taylor has a lot to answer for with the links to heading and dementia

PFA chief Gordon Taylor has a lot to answer for with the links to heading and dementia

Alan Shearer's documentary on possible links between heading and dementia was concerning

Alan Shearer's documentary on possible links between heading and dementia was concerning

Research will go ahead into the effects of heading a football and the implications for players

Footballers could be at a higher risk of dementia due to the heading of a ball

Many families of former players struck down by this illness — and my dad Mike is one — should know by now whether there was a link.

When I spoke about the issue on Radio 5 Live the other week with Pat Nevin, he refused to question the PFA. Pat had a role at Taylor's organisation but that's no reason not to call it to account. He knows how I feel about what he said.

The game is wealthy enough to fight for the players who gave it the best years of their lives, in the same way that any union would. Instead it's been left to the campaigner who wasn't even mentioned in Thursday's announcement: Dawn Astle, whose own father died because he headed a football. We thank her for carrying this torch.

Jeff Astle's grandson touches the match ball as fans pay tribute to the former West Brom man

Jeff Astle's grandson touches the match ball as fans pay tribute to the former West Brom man

Astle was found to have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy after his brain was studied

Astle was found to have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy after his brain was studied

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