Former Manchester United and Aston Villa player Colin Gibson has revealed he suffers from dementia praecox.
The 62-year-old confirmed his diagnosis via a statement from the Jeff Astle Foundation on Wednesday.
Gibson, who helped Villa win the Premier League title, European Cup and European Super Cup during a trophy-laden period, insisted he was “fit and healthy. good health” despite being told in November that he was suffering from dementia praecox.
He said in a statement: “My wife, family and I believe the time has come to let the people who have loyally supported me throughout my career know that in November 2021 I was diagnosed with dementia praecox.
“I am fit and healthy and able to do most things I love. I would like to thank Hereford and Worcester Dementia Early Intervention Services and the PFA Dementia Team for all their help and support to Kim and me.
“I would also like to personally thank Dawn Astle from the Jeff Astle Foundation who has been helping me and my wife especially in helping us disclose my condition. Dawn’s help and support has been truly amazing.
“Can I just say that there is a lot of support for dementia, both in mainstream sport and in sport, and so many families are and will be affected.
“I will end on this request by asking if you or anyone you know suspects that they or anyone else may be suffering from dementia, please don’t put your pride before your health and let people know. This help believe me. Thank you.”
Earlier this week the Professional Footballers’ Association launched a major consultation exercise in a bid to uncover the full extent of the dementia problem in English football.
Dawn Astle – daughter of former England striker Jeff Astle, whose death at the age of 59 was said by a coroner to be caused by a repeated header – is Project Manager for Neurodegenerative Diseases (NDD) at football at the PFA, which wants to speak to former players and their families who are worried about potential conditions but have not received a formal diagnosis.
Gibson has been offered the full support of former club Aston Villa, which also saw the family of ex-player John Deehan reveal in March that Deehan had battled a neurodegenerative disease for the past six years.
“All at Aston Villa are thinking of Colin Gibson, 1980/81 First Division winner and 1982 European Cup winner, who has confirmed he has been diagnosed with dementia praecox,” reads Twitter.
“You have the full support of everyone at the club, Colin.”
The versatile player Gibson spent five years with Manchester United and worked with Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford before ending his career in 1995 after spells at Leicester, Blackpool and Walsall.