The family of Nobby Stiles says they have been told by a neuropathologist that the World Cup winner's dementia was caused by heading the ball.
The Stiles family donated the former Manchester United player's brain to Dr. Willie Stewart’s FIELD study, which is examining links between the disease and the sport, following his death this year.
"It shouldn't matter how players get dementia, the PFA should be helping them."
John Giles tonight urged the PFA to make up for the players they have failed | ⬇️⬇️⬇️ https://t.co/kruFwpTGD2
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) November 19, 2020
Dr. Stewart presented his findings of that research to the Stiles family on Friday, according to the Daily Mail.
His son, John Stiles, told the newspaper: “He told us that the damage to my dad’s brain was very severe and could only be explained by him heading the ball over the sustained period of his career. It confirmed what he had believed for a long time.
“My mother’s exact words when we suggested donating the brain were: ‘If it stops one person suffering the terrible torment of dementia that he went through, it’s worth doing’. It’s more concrete proof that heading the ball kills.”
Nobby Stiles brain study findings
Dr Stewart said in the Mail: “CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy – is a progressive degenerative disease only found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma.
“With Nobby Stiles, the CTE was widespread throughout and at a high stage. He presented a story that was entirely typical of someone with CTE. All of the pathologies you would expect to see were there.”
Dr. Stewart's study found that ex-players are three and a half times more likely to die of a neurodegenerative disease than the general public.
Stiles is one of five players from the England 1966 team who have died with or suffered from dementia.
Several players have expressed their fears and reservations about the link between heading the ball and their future health on OTB including Damien Delaney, John Giles, Kevin Doyle and Tony Cascarino.