City legend Goss on why he jumped to get involved with UEA football dementia study

Norwich City legend Jeremy Goss has signed up for the UEA's study into dementia in football. Picture

Norwich City legend Jeremy Goss has signed up for the UEA's study into dementia in football. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

One of Norwich City’s all time greats has told why he jumped at the opportunity to get involved in a research project into the connection between professional football and dementia.

Jeremy Goss - scorer of arguably the club’s most famous ever goal, against Bayern Munich - has joined fellow City legend Iwan Roberts in taking part in a study being conducted at the University of East Anglia.The study is designed to ascertain how strong connections there are between heading footballs and developing illnesses like dementia in later life. It was launched earlier this year.

It calls on former professional footballers to take part in a series of regular tests to help researchers, led by Dr Michael Grey, better understand the link between the sport and dementia. For Mr Goss, who in his current professional life works for Age UK Norwich, it made perfect sense to offer his services to the project.

The former midfielder, 54, said: “When Michael reached out to me some months it was always going to be of a natural interest to me - given what I did then and what I do now.

“As somebody who played football for a long time, if I were to learn that I was more likely to develop a form of dementia I would certainly want and need to know. That way I would be more able to make plans and preparations for myself and my family in the future.

Mr Goss said the death of fellow Canaries stalwart Duncan Forbes, who died in October, had made the research even more pertinent for him, with Mr Forbes having fought a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

He added: “Even for midfielders and wingers, you underestimate how often you did have to use your head. Not just in games, but in training you would often get hit in the face with the ball or in contact with other players - back then you would get knocked down, feel a bit dizzy then carry on.

“Nowadays the game is played a lot more below knee level, but it is so important that we can understand the connection. The study needs all the support it can get.”

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How you can get involved

The UEA is looking for both men and woman to take part in the study - but particularly former professional footballers.

All participants must be aged above 50, but Dr Grey said the study was not restricted to people that had played the game professionally, and that he would welcome players of all levels of the sport.

He said he was also keen to hear from active non-footballers, to draw parallels with other sporting activities.

Once people have signed up to take part, they will be required to take four short tests every six months, which can be participated in from home.

He added that the age was set at 50 due to staffing restrictions and that the study may be opened up to younger participants in due course.

Those who do not meet to age criteria but still wish to help can do so through financial contributions.For further information on the project, visit the Scores website.

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