West Brom boss Slaven Bilic believes that heading the ball during training should be banned if there are proven links between football and dementia.
Following the death of former Baggies boss Nobby Stiles in October, Stiles’ family have called for authorities to ‘address the scandal’ of dementia in football.
Stiles was the fifth member of England’s 1966 World Cup winning squad to develop dementia and shortly after he died Bobby Charlton’s family announced that the Manchester United legend had also been diagnosed with the disease.
This has led to calls from some, including World Cup hero Geoff Hurst, to ban heading in football at certain levels.
Albion boss Bilic seems to be behind the idea if research uncovers links between heading footballs and developing dementia.
Bilic is quoted by the BBC as saying, “What solution they are going to find, I don’t know. If they find out through the research that heading the ball 10 times during training is going to cause you dementia, then let’s stop it.
“For me, the great thing is they are talking about it and recognising it.”
A report last year found that ex-players are three times more likely to die of dementia than people of the same age in the general population.
The suggestion is that heading a ball repeatedly causes head trauma which will eventually lead to developing dementia in later years.
It is no coincidence that so many former footballers from the ’50s and ’60s have developed the disease after heading footballs that were considerably heavier than the ones used in the Premier League today.
It would certainly be impractical if a ban eventually came in which banned heading the ball in training for clubs in England but player safety should always come first and it seems from Bilic’s comments that this sentiment is shared by some in the footballing world.
In other West Brom news, the Baggies are chasing the signature of one of Scotland’s Euro 2020 heroes.