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  • Writer's pictureMichael Marra MSP


Martyn McNeill, son of Celtic Legend Billy McNeill (1940-2019), has said:

“Our dad’s life was football. He loved everything about it and we are sure he would not have changed anything. However the sacrifice for his great career was seeing him suffer terribly for many years later in life. Dementia took away our father's ability to communicate, to function and ultimately led to his death.

“Research has shown that footballers have a higher prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases. In our opinion this has to be in connection with the repetitive head strikes he suffered either by heading the ball or by contact from other players.

“It is imperative that any player who suffers these diseases from playing football gets the support they deserve. As having seen our mother devote years of her life to caring for our dad we know the burden and toll it takes on a family.”


Families of former footballers suffering neurodegenerative diseases have swung behind the Injury Time campaign led by Scottish Labour’s MSP for North East Scotland and the party’s Finance spokesperson Michael Marra.

Compelling evidence has shown that former footballers are 3 times more likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases than the general population, rising to 5 times as likely depending on the position they played.

Marra has called on the Scottish Government to recognise the evidence and designate brain injuries in football as Industrial Injuries, opening up access to additional benefits and support for the affected players.

There is growing support across the football world for this campaign and today we announce the support of the families of high profile sufferers, Billy McNeil, Frank Kopel and Alex Stuart.

You can read more of the coverage of the campaign here:

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