es Ferdinand revealed that he was so concerned about the impact of repeatedly directing the ball as a player that he arranged a meeting with the doctor responsible for studying dementia in football.
QPR’s director of football spoke with Dr Willie Stewart of the University of Glasgow, who heads the landmark “Field” study. Ferdinand told Standard Sport.
“Sure [I was worried]. I have directed a lot of balls in my career – I stayed behind after practice and made sure to work on my direction. You hear these things and it’s worrying.
Ferdinand, 54, was renowned for his aerial prowess as a striker for QPR, Tottenham, Newcastle (below), West Ham and England.
He said Dr Stewart told him there was still a need for further research on former players and revealed that he had volunteered to participate in future studies.
“He said there was not enough conclusive evidence because unfortunately there are not enough footballers who have left their brains to medical science,” Ferdinand added.
“He said we could scan your brain and we could find something. Alain [Shearer] had a brain scan and [Dr Stewart] Said to her, ‘Look, if there’s something wrong, I have to tell you.’ And Alan was a little worried, because Alan also directed a lot of balls.
“There are polls going to be done and I volunteered to be part of that process. It was supposed to happen a long time ago, but everything has been postponed due to the pandemic.
“It’s worrying, but there is a certain part of the population who will suffer from dementia, and I have family members who have dementia who have never had a head in their lives. We have to do everything we can to find out what will be the cause of these dementia issues for the players. “
Dr Stewart said football should consider eliminating the cap and there should be a health warning that the repeated heading of the ball may lead to an increased risk of dementia.