Billy McNeill - Battle with Dementia

Discussion in 'Charity Events' started by Drakhan, Jun 25, 2017.

Discuss Billy McNeill - Battle with Dementia in the Charity Events area at TalkCeltic.net.

  1. Drakhan Nac Mac Feegle Gold Member

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    The confirmation that Celtic’s legendary captain Billy McNeill, aged 76, is suffering from dementia adds substance to calls for more research into incidence of the illness amongst players who were noted for their prowess at heading the ball.

    McNeill, skipper of the legendary Lisbon Lions side when they became the first British team to win the European Cup by beating Inter Milan in Lisbon in 1967, was at the heart of Celtic’s defence during their epic run of nine successive Scottish titles, seven Scottish Cup triumphs and six in the Scottish League Cup.

    Known as ‘Caesar’ for his commanding style, McNeill was an impressive presence as he rose to make powerful clearances at one end of the pitch or to add to the Hoop’s attacking strength at the other. He had two spells as Celtic manager and was a frequent guest at matches until recently.

    The symptoms of dementia, which first appeared seven years ago, became more visible as the illness progressed and when McNeill unveiled a statue of him holding the European Cup outside Celtic Park last year he required discreet assistance from family members.

    His wife of 53 years, Liz, told Sunday newspapers: “His concentration is not as good and he now can’t communicate very well. It’s affected his speech.

    “Sometimes, if something annoys him, he can still say a few words like ‘don’t do that’, but in general he finds it very difficult. It’s not because he doesn’t know how to speak. There’s just a part of his brain that won’t let him. It is sad. We don’t know what he can remember because he can’t communicate.”

    The link between dementia and heading the ball has been debated for almost two decades. In 1999, the former Celtic striker, Billy McPhail, launched a legal action in an attempt to prove that damage to the left hemisphere of his brain had been caused by repeated heading of the old-fashioned leather ball.

    “The ball used to get very heavy when it rained - when you took that full in the forehead it nearly knocked you over, said McPhail, but an industrial tribunal ruled that dementia did not count as an industrial injury. Three years later a coroner ruled that the former England international, Jeff Astle, had died from dementia because of repeatedly heading the ball and that his death was a consequence of “industrial disease.”

    Astle’s family said after the verdict that ‘the game he lived for killed him’. What seemed as though it would be a breakthrough in prompting acknowledgement of a link between heading a football and dementia proved to be a false dawn, however. Last year the Telegraph urged that the time had come for a comprehensive investigation.

    “I think it’s the right time for us to talk about this now,” said Liz McNeill. “Heading the ball and the possibilities of concussive effects on the brain needs more discussion. We don’t know if Billy’s dementia is linked to his football. More research needs to be done.”
     
  2. Drakhan Nac Mac Feegle Gold Member

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    I have been given permission to post this here.
    This is the link

    www.alzscot.org

    To back the Billy McNeill Fund, simply pledge an amount and click the designation box to “football and dementia research”.

    When clicking the link click 'make a single donation' then add your amount then in drop down menu click “football and dementia research” then fill in rest.
     
  3. Drakhan Nac Mac Feegle Gold Member

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    World Cup winner Geoff Hurst has hailed the campaign by the family of Lisbon Lion legend Billy McNeill for more research into football’s links with dementia.

    The Sunday Mail last week helped launch the Billy McNeill Fund – a major fundraising drive that aims to raise £100,000 for Alzheimer Scotland.


    At least three of Sir Geoff’s teammates from England’s 1966 squad have been hit with the devastating brain disease.

    Geoff, the only man to score a World Cup final hat-trick, is now an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society charity.

    The former West Ham striker scored twice against McNeill in a 4-1 England win over Scotland in 1969.

    Geoff said: “My sympathy is with Billy’s family at this time and their brave decision, which I believe is the correct one, in going public with this.

    “I’m particularly close with Martin Peters’ family so, from my experience, I know the difficulty in announcing the news that a family member has dementia.

    “I remember playing against Billy in 1969.

    The England 1966 world champions have also been hit by the condition. Ray Wilson was first to be diagnosed in 2004, followed by Nobby Stiles in 2012 and Martin Peters in 2013.

    Geoff has been particularly rocked by friend Martin’s illness.

    He said: “It’s an awful disease. My best pal in football is Martin Peters, who scored the other goal in the 1966 final. I’ve been friends with Martin since I was 17.

    “Our wives go back 50 years and they speak almost daily so I understand how difficult it is to live with somebody with dementia.”
     
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  4. Taz Blind Justice Gold Member

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    Alzheimer’s is a terrible thing to witness, especially in those close to you. My grandfather, the main reason why I ended up being a Hoops follower. Seeing before your eyes someone so clever diminish within the shell of what it reduced him to. So any sort of research into this terrible affliction is an effort and cause worth investing in.

    It's curious that the link though, in this case, between football and these degenerative mental disorders. Football does lend itse;f to the occasional headclash for example, which happens less frequently than is the case in other football codes (AFL, NFL, Rugby et al), but still happens.

    I wonder though, the footballs that were used in bygone era's, those leather balls that would become pretty heavy when they became a little bit waterlogged. So the impact of repeated heading of the ball, such as what centre halfs often have to contend with repeatedly during the course of a match could be a factor into this.

    The balls that are used nowadays are far lighter, more resistant to water and therefore getting heavier, and in any given match there are multiple balls in and around the pitch, so it isn't as though the same ball is in use for the entire duration, which does again helps prevent this.

    Although the same potential remains into possible head clashes occuring, I do wonder if the shift and advancement in the anufacturing of the match bals now has had the added benefit of reducing some of the impact that repeated heading of the ball might have once had.
     
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  5. Drakhan Nac Mac Feegle Gold Member

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    I read a couple of weeks ago, an article about someone trying to have heading of a football in matches, banned.
    I think that would be difficult to stop as it's been a part of the game since the beginning.
     
  6. jamieparis

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    ludicrous, at most how many times does the average player head a ball during a game, not many, twice? three times?
     
  7. celts67

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  8. celts67

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    ..........