Prominent neuroscientist Dr Michael Grey questions why PFA is not supporting his study into dementia in football… after approaching players union and FA over a year ago
- Dr Michael Grey approached the FA and PFA in 2019 to gain an endorsement
- SCORES project at the University of East Anglia focuses on dementia in football
- But the PFA said they are already financially backing three dementia studies
- Dr Grey threw his support behind Sportsmail’s campaign to tackle dementia
The neuroscientist behind a prominent study into dementia in football has questioned the reasoning behind the Professional Footballers’ Association’s decision to not support their work.
Dr Michael Grey revealed in Sportsmail on Thursday that he approached the PFA and the FA in September 2019 with a view to gaining an endorsement for his SCORES project at the University of East Anglia.
After Dr Grey detailed that neither organisation had helped in spreading the word to former professional players, the PFA highlighted that they are already financially backing three studies and have assisted a fourth, the HEADING study, in recruitment.
Dr Michael Grey has questioned why the PFA is not supporting his SCORES dementia study
In citing the overlaps between the HEADING study – which is looking at brain health in 300 footballers over the age of 50 – and the SCORES project, the PFA said: ‘The research targets the same demographic as the University of East Anglia, so we need to complete the current study before we can consider future proposals which require access to the same cohort within the database.’
However, the players’ union’s position has been challenged by Dr Grey, whose study is tracking brain health changes in players over 40, including former Wales international Iwan Roberts and ex-Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright.
He told Sportsmail: ‘I am encouraged that the PFA are helping the HEADING study and I would strongly recommend the HEADING study to any former professional players.
‘What I would reiterate is that we are complementary to the HEADING study, not competition.
PFA’s stance has been challenged by Dr Grey, who has a study focusing on dementia in football
‘The HEADING study requires 300 people to participate and to do so they need to come in to London, which in a Covid environment might not be possible. Our study is looking at the same demographic but there are more than 300 former professional footballers who are available.
‘Our study is minimally invasive – it requires four sessions a year of half an hour each that can be done online from their home.
‘All we have asked for is for the PFA to work with us to encourage players to join for their membership’s own benefit and health. I do not see any good reason why we cannot work together on this.’