• Head for Change to offer support to those affected
  • ‘We want to be part of the solution,’ says Dr Judith Gates

The family of Nobby Stiles have become ambassadors for a new charity launched by the families of former football and rugby players who have been diagnosed with dementia. Head for Change unites the two sports and aims to provide support for others with neurodegenerative conditions they believe were caused by their careers. The charity will also seek to empower independent research into the effects of brain injury and to campaign for safer practice.

In late 2020, football and rugby were devastated by further diagnoses of dementia in their former players, including England’s 1966 World Cup winner, Bobby Charlton, Steve Thompson, who won the Rugby World Cup with England in 2003, and the former Welsh rugby international Alix Popham. Head for Change’s aim, first and foremost, is to leave behind the antagonism that has defined the narrative so far between player, science and governing body and to find a unity of purpose.

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