Football’s InfluencE on Lifelong health and Dementia risk (FIELD)
Given growing anxieties over perceived increased risk of dementia in former professional footballers, establishing robust data to inform on late neurodegenerative outcomes of participation in football is a priority to inform public health policy, and the sport.
Importantly, however, insight into risk of neurodegenerative disease must be read in context of wider lifelong health outcomes to permit adequately informed discussions on the holistic public health implications of participation in football.
To this end, we have brought together a multidisciplinary collaboration of researchers and experts in traumatic brain injury, public health and sport to direct studies to investigate a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes, including neurodegenerative disease, in former footballers.
Our specific aims are:
- Aim 1: Compare the incidence of neurodegenerative disease, including dementia, in former professional footballers to a matched general population comparison group.
- Aim 2: Compare the incidence of chronic physical and mental health conditions in former professional footballers to a matched general population comparison group.
- Aim 3: Compare all-cause and disease-specific mortality in former professional footballers to a matched general population comparison group.
- Aim 4: Register former footballers for autopsy brain donation for diagnostic assessment at the time of death to inform on neurodegenerative pathologies in this population.