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Gary Lineker to undergo dementia tests after revealing he, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright fear illness

Gary Lineker will undergo extra tests for dementia after revealing he and fellow pundits Alan Shearer and Ian Wright fear getting the illness

  • Gary Lineker has revealed his fears of getting dementia in ’10, 15 years time’ 
  • The ex-footballer has discussed the subject with Alan Shearer and Ian Wright 
  • Ex-footballers 3.5 times more likely to die of dementia than general population

Former England star and football presenter Gary Lineker has revealed he will be getting extra tests on his brain to check for dementia. 

The Match of the Day host, 60, scored more headers for England than any other player and says that he and fellow presenters Alan Shearer and Ian Wright fear they could get the illness.  

Lineker has also joined a talkSPORT to take part in a radio documentary on the brain condition. 

He said: ‘I’ve had conversations with Alan Shearer and Ian Wright and others about the worry that come 10, 15 years that it might happen to one of us. The odds suggest that it probably will.

‘I have regular health checks, including the brain. So far everything is OK. I’ll have my triannual test this summer and ask if there’s anything they can establish around the brain, because I don’t see how, given the circumstances any footballer wouldn’t be worried about it.’ 

According to research on dementia, ex-footballers are 3.5 times more likely to die from the illness than the general population. 

Gary Lineker has revealed his fears of getting dementia and said he will be getting extra tests

The ex-England footballer and current Match of the Day host (pictured winning a header in 1986) scored more goals for England than any other player

The ex-England footballer and current Match of the Day host (pictured winning a header in 1986) scored more goals for England than any other player

It comes after several former footballers died of dementia, including England’s 1966 World Cup heroes Nobby Stiles, Jack Charlton, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson.

Bobby Charlton was diagnosed with the disease last year while former Leeds United defender Gordon McQueen announced he had it last week.  

Ex-England forward Jeff Astle died in January 2002 aged 59 and an  inquest found his death was from repeatedly heading balls.

His daughter Dawn, 53, has since led the campaign to battle the dementia in football. 

Reacting to Gary Lineker’s revelation, she told the Mirror: ‘It’s great to see a big name like Lineker come out and do this. The time between the heading to outcome is often decades. But with all the evidence we have you can look on the balance of probability and say heading’s the problem.’

Discussing potential ways of limiting the impact of heading the ball, Lineker added: ‘Do you want to take heading out of the game? No I don’t think so, but you can take heading out of training, or limit it massively. 

‘If I had known what I know now, I would have certainly limited the amount of heading I did.

‘The era of the 1966 players has made us really aware of this.’ 

The organisation leading the fight to understand a link between football and brain disease revealed in November that they know of at least 500 former players who have been affected.

Lineker says he and fellow presenters Alan Shearer and Ian Wright fear they could get the illness

Lineker says he and fellow presenters Alan Shearer and Ian Wright fear they could get the illness

The Jeff Astle Foundation believe the number may represent a fraction of the actual total.

Six of the 11 players who won the title for Burnley in 1959-60 have died with dementia while a seventh, Jimmy Robson, is also now struggling with the illness.

In February it emerged that the FA and PFA are to commission new studies into what causes the increased risk of dementia among footballers. 

The two bodies have announced they will jointly fund research to follow the 2019 FIELD project, which found ex-footballers to be three and a half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative diseases than the general population.

The FA and PFA are seeking applications from researchers to answer the question: what is the cause of the observed increased risk of death from neurodegenerative disorders in former professional footballers found in the FIELD study? 

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