Heart of the Matter: On life-changing injuries from sport

"The case being put forward by Alan Shearer is compelling," - Jimmy Harte

Jimmy Harte


Jimmy Harte


Heart of the Matter: On life-changing  injuries from sport

An interesting documentary by former England forward Alan Shearer gave us an insight into the dangers of how consistent heading of the ball can cause head injuries.

The case being put forward by Shearer is compelling. He spent his career on the front line and although recently was given the green light, he is still afraid of future complications as he gets older. It is important that his story is highlighted and more former players will come forward. It could have a devastating effect on soccer in the future.

It's good that someone as high profile as Alan Shearer has highlighted the case for professional footballers as it can be addressed at the highest level and will be highlighted in the press and media in general.  

His efforts will get people talking and prevention can be brought into the equation. Maybe the medicine will benefit from his work. The programme highlighted the case for more research into head injuries in football before the legal profession gets on the case.

My own memories of the great Jim Sheridan, Finn Harps centre half in the 70's and one of the best centre halves in the country, was his ability to head a ball back up the field from a goal kick or a long ball. I used to cringe at the power he displayed attacking the ball in this way. You must remember that the football was much heavier back then, and generally made from leather, unlike today where they are completely different in weight and texture.

I wrote before about former West Brom star Jeff Astle. By the end of his life he couldn't remember a lot of his playing days which is a shame as he was a top player. His sad passing at the age of 59 highlighted the dangers and how it can have a frightening effect on players and families. It's good that his family is keeping his memory and his story alive. I hope that Alan Shearer also keeps up his campaign.

Let's hope that the future will be brighter for footballers who give so much pleasure to communities throughout the world. However, the days of playing for the good of the game has been replaced by a realisation that it may be better to have a good post-playing career and a great life afterwards instead of dementia. This may be a step in the right direction.