Footballer turned BBC pundit Alan Shearer is to front a one-off investigation looking into the latest scientific research linking football and dementia.
The former England, Newcastle and Blackburn Rovers striker – a prolific header of the ball in his playing days – will front Dementia – Football’s Silent Shame? in a bid to find out whether retired footballers are more at risk from suffering from dementia in later life, the BBC announced today.
The BBC1 programme follows recent scientific reports from around the world which suggest potential links between football and dementia from consistently heading a ball.
Now aged 46, and having been retired for 10 years, Shearer is still the Premier League’s top goal scorer, with 46 of his 260 goals in the competition coming from headers alone.
Shearer said, “After seeing the movie Concussion, I was intrigued. I was aware of former football players, legends who I grew up watching, suffering from dementia. Could this affect football and footballers too? The more I read about it, the more I felt this was a subject that could no longer be ignored.”
He will investigate the latest scientific research from Britain and around the world, including studies into Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a condition formerly believed to exist primarily among boxers.
In the programme he will meet footballers and their families affected by dementia before undergoing a variety of cutting-edge medical tests himself to asses the condition of his own body and brain. He will also seek out scientific evidence claiming there is in fact no link between dementia and brain damage caused by heading the ball.
The programme is due to air on BBC1 later this summer.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.