Former Bath City striker Alex Fletcher has joined the PFA’s Brain Health department, 12 months after suffering a near-fatal head injury.
After sustaining major injuries in a head-on collision with concrete barriers during a match in November 2022, Alex underwent major surgery to remove part of his skull. After a long recovery process during which he was sidelined from football for 10 months, Fletcher made his return to playing in August this summer.
Throughout his recovery, Fletcher used his own experience to advocate for enhanced player safety in football grounds, particularly in relation to pitch perimeters. He has worked with the PFA and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to highlight the need for clearer guidance for clubs and enhanced safety measures.
In his new role with the PFA, Fletcher, who recently signed for National League South club Weston-super-Mare AFC, will visit clubs and speak to players on a range of brain health issues.
“I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give to football on and off the pitch and so I’m really excited to be joining the PFA.
“The understanding of the relationship between brain health and playing football continues to grow, and that’s what I’ll be speaking to players about, sharing information and helping them build their personal understanding of this as an issue.
“From my own experience as a player, I know it always helps when the person who is speaking is someone who has experienced the same things and who has that understanding of the issues you face as a footballer.
“Obviously, I’m able to talk to players about what happened to me and how that sort of life-changing incident gave me a different perspective on my own brain health. I know that, as a young and healthy person, it’s not something people necessarily think about as potentially impacting them. I hope that these conversations will help other players begin to think about their own long-term health and wellbeing.”
PFA CEO Maheta Molango, said:
“We’re delighted to be able to welcome Alex to the PFA team. He is an impressive young man with a unique perspective on the importance of brain health. He has worked his way back from a major injury that has had a profound impact not just on his football career but also his life.
“He is motivated to use his position within the game for good and, as a current player, he’s someone who I know our members will be able to relate to. Alex will be going into clubs and working alongside our specialist team, presenting to players and leading conversations about the importance of brain health within football.”
The PFA’s Brain Health department, led by Dr Adam White, delivers education to players, clubs and staff around brain health, and lobbies international and domestic stakeholders to safeguard player brain health in both matches and training.
The department also drives the union’s strategy around neurodegenerative disease, working closely with affected current and former players and their families.
In September this year, the PFA and Premier League launched a new fund to assist former players and their families who have been impacted by dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions.