The evidence is now clear: Former professional footballers are three and a half times more likely to die of brain injuries, including dementia, than people of the same age range in the general population. Brain injuries from repetitive head impacts have resulted in a generation of players being afflicted by this decline in brain function.
These players were injured at work. We must recognise that. Those in power must now recognise it too.
Under new powers being devolved in Scotland, we have an opportunity to formally classify brain injury in football as an industrial injury. By creating a clear and dignified process, we can honour the legacy of our footballing heroes with action and stop a generation of players falling victim to preventable suffering.
This would give access to much needed additional income for former players, their families, and their carers. It is the least we can do for those who have entertained us as part of our national game.
To help honour that legacy and meet this new challenge, we - the undersigned - are calling for brain injuries experienced by ex-footballers, to be classified as an industrial injury.
We have a generational chance to support those who entertained us in our national game to be given the support they desperately need. For a generation of our greats, they are facing their final injury time — and time is running out.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Jackie McNamara Snr