Ryan Mason says he would not be surprised if heading no longer exists within football in 10 years’ time amid ‘shocking’ and ‘concerning’ research into its impact.
Former Tottenham and Hull midfielder Mason was forced to retire after fracturing his skull in 2017 following a sickening clash of heads with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill at Stamford Bridge.
Dr Willie Stewart’s FIELD study showed that footballers were three-and-a-half times more likely to die of a neurodegenerative disease than the general population.
Ryan Mason believes heading within football may not exist in about 10 or 15 years time
Sportsmail is continuing to campaign for a restriction on heading in training sessions, and Mason said: ‘It wouldn’t surprise me in 10 to 15 years if heading wasn’t involved in the game.
‘The research and the momentum it’s getting, I think it’s probably going to open up a lot more stuff that becomes quite shocking. I’m not sure footballers are fully aware of the potential damage. This is where the more research, the more understanding, the more education current players get, the better.’
The PFA have also joined Sportsmail in calling for heading in training to be reduced. As part of our seven-point campaign, we suggested a maximum of 20 headers per session, and a minimum of 48 hours between sessions.
Mason was forced to retire from football after fracturing his skull in 2017 while playing for Hull
Speaking to the BBC, Mason, the 29-year-old who was capped once by England, added: ‘It might even get to a point where you might need to sign something to say that I’m OK [playing with the risk].
‘It really is concerning. The problem we have is you don’t know the effects until you get later on in life.’
Gary Lineker has also been vocal in his support of abandoning heading in training at all levels.
Mason’s comments come after a group of former footballers, managers and politicians have taken Sportsmail‘s campaign to Parliament.
In letters sent to the Prime Minister and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, former England stars Peter Reid and Viv Anderson, as well as ex-Labour leader Lord Kinnock, are among the signatories calling for an urgent review into the possible link between heading a ball and neurodegenerative diseases.
Former footballers and MP’s have taken Sportsmail’s dementia campaign to the Government