Following 18 months of research The Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association are now seeking applications for independent research into degenerative neurocognitive disease in ex-professional footballers.
This call for research is the next step in The FA and PFA’s commitment to jointly commission an evidence-based study into the long-term effects of head injuries in football.
After months of consultation and analysis the Expert Concussion Panel, established in 2015, have agreed the parameters of the research, which will be completed by an independent research group.
The research will be focused on one fundamental question: 'Is the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease more common in ex-professional footballers than in the normal population?'
The FA’s head of medicine, Dr Charlotte Cowie, said: "This is a crucial issue for The FA and one that we feel passionately about addressing.
"Dementia is a debilitating disease, which places extraordinary emotional and physical burdens on both sufferers and those close to them.
"Player welfare is paramount and it is increasingly important that the football authorities investigate further whether there are any potential risks associated with heading the ball, as this is a unique feature of our game. The project will be jointly-funded by The FA and the PFA as a collaborative approach will add credibility and resource to the project.
"We have been working with other partners inside and outside football for many months in order to ensure that any research is objective, robust and thorough. The parameters of the research having now been agreed, we are in a position to appoint an independent research group to drive the study forward. This process will not be rapid as diligence is essential so that all those involved in football, past and present, can be confident in the final results."
Interested parties should submit an initial concept document that will be assessed by members of The FA’s expert concussion panel, with input from other independent experts as are required in order to establish the potential viability and validity of any application.