Neurodegenerative disease mortality among former professional soccer players

Our 2019 publication assessed mortality outcomes in our former professional soccer players. With a main aim of finding out whether former players were at different risk of mortality from neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia, as well as a range of other common causes of death. Causes of death, and age at death, were determined from death certificates.


· All-cause mortality was lower in former players, up until the age of 70.

· Risk of neurodegenerative disease deaths were increased in former players, with risk being just over 3.5 times greater.

· This risk was greatest for Alzheimer’s disease – risk was 5 times elevated.

· Risk was lowest for Parkinson’s disease – risk was just over doubled.

· Age at death with neurodegenerative disease did not differ between former players and that of the general population, other than for non-Alzheimer’s dementia.

· Former players were also more likely to receive a prescription of a dementia-related medication.

· Risk of death from ischaemic heart disease, and from lung cancers, were reduced in the former players.

You can read the whole paper here

Mackay, D. F., Russell, E. R., Stewart, K., MacLean, J. A., Pell, J. P., Stewart, W. (2019) Neurodegenerative Disease Mortality among Former Professional Soccer Players. NEJM, doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1908483