Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has admitted he’s considering making training changes to combat growing concerns about football and dementia.
England legend Sir Bobby Charlton was recently diagnosed with dementia, while Nobby Stiles sadly passed away last month after battling the illness.
Recent research has suggested that players are more likely to develop dementia later in life as a result of heading the ball but clubs are yet to be told to make any changes.
Lampard feels strongly about the issue and suggested he may personally make some tweaks to his training at Chelsea to ensure the safety of his players.
“The rules need to be stronger to make sure we’re not making younger children head it if they don’t need to. In the development game, that’s more than possible,” Lampard said on Thursday.
“We have to start with youth football. When children are developing, we can control the levels of training. Anything we can do to make things safer, we should.
“I think we can work up the pyramid. Already, I’m certainly considering it in terms of how we train here because of the seriousness of the issue.
“At the professional level, the small gains are huge and we need to make sure we’re working under the same guidelines and trust each other that we are. At the moment, there are no guidelines. It has to be something that goes across the board.”
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is just as worried about the link between football and dementia having seen first hand just how debilitating the disease can be.
“I think it’s a question for a wider debate until we have the full science data about heading the ball,” Smith said.
“I was a defender and my game was about heading a football. Yes, it is a concern. If the data comes out and shows a correlation. We’d need to change something.
“I recently lost my father through Covid but he also had dementia and he was not a footballer. Dementia and Alzheimer’s is more prevalent throughout the world now unfortunately but I think if there is a correlation between heading a football and dementia then we need to do something.
“There’s a lot of people putting in money and intelligence to find out if there is a correlation between heading and dementia. The balls were heavier back then. We are all saddened about the former players who are suffering with dementia at the moment.”