The family of former England international footballer Jeff Astle has launched a campaign to find ex-professionals who have suffered brain injuries as a result of heading the ball.
Mr Astle died in 2002 at the age of 59, of brain damage that was directly attributed to regularly heading the old-style heavy leather footballs that were used throughout his career.
At the time, the coroner ruled his death to be an industrial disease, and it has emerged that medical professionals are re-examining the case to determine if his injuries were similar to those suffered by boxers and American footballers.
His widow Laraine and daughter Dawn criticised the Football Association last week, claiming they have reneged on a promise to conduct a 10-year study into the effects of heading footballs. The FA claimed they had begun the study, but that it had failed when the young players being used as test subjects failed to establish themselves in the professional game.
The family also expressed their frustration at BBC programme Match of the Day, claiming they failed to acknowledge a banner tribute made by fans of Astle’s former club, West Bromwich Albion, at Saturday’s match against Hull City.
The striker scored 174 goals for the club, including an FA Cup Final winner in 1968. He is still known as ‘The King’ to supporters.
His family are now hoping to bring attention to his case once again by finding other ex-footballers afflicted by similar sporting injuries. Laraine Astle said: “We need answers from the FA. We are not going away.”
How Croftons Solicitors can help with industrial disease claims
This case highlights the effect industrial diseases can have on victims and their families, often over the course of several years.
It also serves as an example of how symptoms may not present themselves until long after a worker has retired. While this high profile case has received media coverage, industrial diseases are found across a range of professions and it is important that you make a claim as soon as you are made aware of your symptoms.
Croftons Solicitors can help you make a compensation claim if you come to us within three years of your diagnosis, so contact the team on 0800 2800 094 to find out more.