Today’s footballers may be at greater risk of head injury and dementia because balls are heavier than in the past, a new documentary suggests.
Although vintage brown leather footballs appear more cumbersome than today’s precision-engineered balls, in fact, they were 40 grams lighter. Only when they were wet did they become significantly heavier.
Speaking to the Telegraph ahead of a new BBC documentary looking into the issue of dementia in football, former England captain Alan Shearer, 47, said he was concerned that continually heading modern balls in practice may have damaged his brain.
Several former players, including Jeff Astle and Nobby Stiles developed dementia in later years, a condition that their families believe was a direct result of heading the ball. In 2002, a coroner even gave the cause of Astle’s death as industrial disease.