“You don’t go to soccer thinking you’re going to get brain damage” – Hayley McQueen speaks to BBC Breakfast about dementia in soccer
Hayley McQueen says there should be a change in football laws to limit direction after her father, former Scottish defender Gordon, was diagnosed with vascular dementia.
McQueen wants future generations of footballers to be better protected once the risks are better known.
“You don’t go to football thinking you’re going to get brain damage,” she said.
“There are a lot of footballers out there who think, ‘Is it me next?'”
McQueen, a sports writer and broadcaster, told BBC Breakfast’s Sally Nugent that her father did not regret his career because no one knew about the possible risks.
The 68-year-old made almost 350 appearances for St. Mirren, Leeds, Manchester United and Scotland between 1970 and 1985.
Gordon McQueen with his wife Yvonne and daughter Hayley
“I don’t think I realized how many times my father used his head,” said McQueen. “I didn’t know it was in training over and over for years.
“You go back to childhood and throw a ball against a wall because if you didn’t have anyone to play with, you did.
“There were moments when I said I can’t believe what gave him so much love took so much of him so cruelly.
“He has had some memorable headers. One of the pictures at home is jumping in the air and scoring against England and that is something he is very proud of.
“But he says maybe he would have done something different in training if they had been warned. You can’t get upset about that; there’s no one to blame. They didn’t know, but we know now and someone will to do.” Guilt if we don’t do anything about it. “
Gordon McQueen has scored five goals in 30 games for Scotland, including against England in 1977
Studies commissioned by the Football Association and the Professional Football Association (PFA) in 2019 showed that former footballers were three and a half times more likely to die of degenerative brain diseases.
The study began after claims that former West Brom striker Jeff Astle died of recurrent head trauma at the age of 59. Astle’s family has advocated more research on the subject.
In response to that study, the heading was banned during training for children under 11 years of age in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“Cutting out headlines for under 11s is a big step forward, but what about the teenage years when your brain is still developing?” McQueen said. “It could change football – but what now? If it saves lives and their future, does it really matter?
“There have to be changes in the law. Not only for children under 11, but also for professional games.”
A parliamentary inquiry Professor Willie Stewart, who led the research in 2019, examined the link between exercise and long-term brain injuries among a series of experts due to appear before MPs on Tuesday.
The PFA has Set up a task force to investigate the problem of brain injury diseases in soccer. Some former players have also given their consent participate in studies Investigating the effects of head injuries.
In a statement, the FA said it had helped “lead the way in pioneering football-related research” and “had a clear and unwavering commitment, both financially and resources, to objective, robust and thorough research support forward “.
It added, “Collaboration between the governing bodies of football is key to better understanding this important issue together and we strongly believe that all areas of football should come together on this important cause.”