Soccer

Gary Lineker to undergo dementia checks amid concerns over health of footballers

Gary Lineker says he will be undergoing extra checks for dementia this summer after being left fearful of the long-lasting effects of heading a football.

Lineker, 60, revealed on talkSPORT that he and Match of the Day colleagues Alan Shearer and Ian Wright are all worried about the chances of developing the disease after years of scoring headers.

Research has shown that ex-pros are 3.5 times more likely to die of dementia then the general population, which has led to calls for heading to be banned in the game.

The brain disorder has already caused the deaths of four England 1966 World Cup heroes – Nobby Stiles, Jack Charlton, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson.

Bobby Charlton was also diagnosed with dementia last year, while former Manchester United and Leeds defender Gordon McQueen became the latest ex-pro to be affected last week.

As a result, England legend Lineker – who scored more headers for the Three Lions than any other player – is keen to undergo extra checks for dementia.

“I’ve had conversations with Alan Shearer and Ian Wright and others about the worry that come 10, 15 years that it might happen to one of us,” he said as part of talkSPORT’s Dementia in Football documentary.

“The odds suggest that it probably will.

“I have regular health checks, including the brain. So far everything is OK.

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  • “I’ll have my triannual test this summer and ask if there’s anything they can establish around the brain, because I don’t see how, given the circumstances, any footballer wouldn’t be worried about it.”

    Lineker isn’t looking for headers to be banned from football entirely, but he believes “you can take heading out of training, or limit it massively”.

    “If I’d known what I know now, I would have certainly limited the amount of heading I did,” he added.

    “It’s hard to imagine the game without heading, but maybe it’s worth trialling.”

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