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BrainHOPE: Launch of new dementia study

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Former professional players are being recruited to take part in a new study investigating ways to reduce the risk of dementia.

The study, BrainHOPE, is being led by Dr Willie Stewart and will further build on the PFA funded 2019 FIELD study which concluded professional footballers are more than three times more likely to die of neurodegenerative diseases than non-players of their age.

The £1.3million investigation is being jointly funded by the FA and FIFA.

BrainHOPE are looking to recruit 120 former professionals aged between 40-59 for the study which will use brain imaging and tests to compare results with members of the general population.

Dr Stewart, consultant neuropathologist and honorary professor at the University of Glasgow said: "This is an incredibly important study. Our findings from the FIELD study show there is reason to worry about lifelong brain health in former footballers.”

“BrainHOPE is designed to identify tests that might detect problems early on and, more importantly, possible ways to try and reduce dementia risk for former footballers."

The investigation will also review whether any differences in brain health might benefit from management of known dementia risk factors intended to try and reduce their risk.

Charlotte Cowie, head of performance medicine at the Football Association, said: “The launch of the BrainHope study is another important step in building our understanding of the long-term health of former professional footballers.

"Forming part of the wider Prevent Dementia study, this research will help us further understand the links between the game and neurodegenerative diseases and also potential early interventions which could help reduce risk or speed of developing dementia."

If you are a former professional footballer and interested in participating in the research, please click here.

The PFA is committed to giving footballing families living with dementia the support they need, and making sure they are not left alone and without help.

Former PFA members living with dementia or other neurodegenerative conditions can access support from the PFA’s dedicated team. Please contact us at for more information.


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