Jeff Astle's widow to meet FA chairman Greg Dyke over head injury concerns

Jeff Astle, the former West Bromwich Albion striker Jeff Astle played for West Bromwich Albion from 1964 to 1974

Related Stories

The chairman of the FA has offered to meet the widow of former footballer Jeff Astle to discuss what it is doing to analyse head injuries in the game.

The ex-West Bromwich Albion and England forward died in 2002 from brain trauma caused by heading heavy leather balls.

The FA had promised a 10-year study into the effects of heading footballs but nothing has been published.

Mr Astle's widow, Laraine, has now received a letter of apology from the FA chairman, Greg Dyke.

In the letter Mr Dyke apologises for the FA's lack of contact and says he will meet the family to discuss their concerns.

The letter goes on to say a commission has been set up to investigate head injuries, which includes representatives from the FA, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and the Premier League.

Dementia and depression

Mrs Astle, who lives near Swadlincote in Derbyshire, said: "I think about Jeff every day and after waiting 12 years for this apology I just want some closure.

"I want to ask Mr Dyke why it's taking so long to look into this because we just want football to be safer for youngsters coming into the game."

Justice for Jeff Astle campaign West Bromwich Albion fans are planning to hold more protests at the game against Cardiff on Saturday

Mrs Astle said she was backing calls by the Labour MP for Rhondda, Chris Bryant, for a Parliamentary inquiry into the issue.

Mr Bryant said: "All the evidence from the USA shows head injuries in sport can lead to onset of early dementia, depression and other medical problems.

"What happened to Jeff Astle has happened to hundreds of other professional footballers... we want a full inquiry to get the facts out there."

A study in the US in 2011 led doctors to say they had found evidence on brain scans that frequently heading a football could lead to brain injury.

Lead researcher Dr Michael Lipton said at the time: "Heading a soccer ball is not an impact of a magnitude that will lacerate nerve fibres in the brain.

"But repetitive heading could set off a cascade of responses that can lead to degeneration of brain cells."

Banners and protests

On Saturday a group of West Bromwich Albion fans, including Jeff Astle's daughters, launched a campaign called Justice for Jeff at the club's match with Hull City.

Supporters waved banners and held a minute-long round of applause after nine minutes to symbolise the number nine shirt Astle wore during his career.

The group said more protests were planned for the team's home game with Cardiff on Saturday.

Jeff Astle played for West Bromwich Albion from 1964 to 1974.

He scored 137 goals in 292 league appearances for the club and is recognised as one of its greatest players. He scored West Brom's winning goal in the 1968 FA Cup final and also played for England in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

15 °C 10 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Girl threatened near hospital 10:27: Halesowen News

    A manhunt is under way in Dudley after a teenage girl was threatened near Russells Hall Hospital.

     
  2.  
    Walsall 1-2 Yeovil 10:18:

    Yeovil Town collected their first league goals and victory of the season at the expense of struggling Walsall.

     
  3.  
    Santa hats at the ready 10:09: Joanne Malin Presenter, Midlands Today

    Happy August everyone! I just spotted this.

    Christmas sign
     
  4.  
    News on the hour 09:56: Kevin Pashby Journalist, BBC WM

    Housing charity shelter says nearly 700,000 people in the West Midlands wouldn't be able to pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job.

    Hear more in the 10:00 bulletin.

     
  5.  
    Buses diverted 09:55:

    Due to an accident at the junction of Valentine Road and Kings Heath High Street (A435), bus services 35 and 50 are being diverted.

    See Network West Midlands for details.

     
  6.  
    Mum-of-eight 'wants more kids' 09:44: Birmingham Mail

    A single mother-of-eight from Birmingham has told how she is planning to have more children - so she can claim more benefits and get a bigger council house.

     
  7.  
    Call to reinstate 'Trojan Horse' heads 09:35: Ed Barlow BBC Local Live

    Three head teachers who left schools in Birmingham linked to the alleged Trojan Horse plot should be reinstated or compensated, the National Association of Head Teachers says.

     
  8.  
    Birmingham 2-2 Ipswich 09:24:

    Christophe Berra scored in injury time as Ipswich twice came from behind to earn a point at Birmingham City.

    Christophe Berra

    The Scottish defender netted a second-half brace, meaning both sides now have four points from their first three games of the season.

     
  9.  
    University plans lab upgrade 09:14: Express and Star

    The University of Wolverhampton is to spend almost £500,000 to upgrade laboratories and equipment at one of its campuses as part of a plan to improve engineering courses.

     
  10.  
    Serious accident 09:02:

    The A435 High Street in King's Heath is blocked and there's queuing traffic out of town at the Queensbridge Road junction because of a serious accident, reports BBC Travel News.

     
  11.  
    TOP HEADLINES
     
  12.  
    News on the hour 08:55: Kevin Pashby Journalist, BBC WM

    Investigators are working to find out what caused a coach travelling from West Bromwich to Weston-super-Mare to crash on the M5 yesterday.

    Coach crash on M5

    Five adults and one child were injured when the coach left the motorway and went into a ditch close to J13, for Stroud. Hear more in the 09:00 bulletin.

     
  13.  
    Wrong-way drive on M6 Toll 08:52:

    Police say they stopped a serious crash on the M6 Toll after a car was seen driving the wrong way along the motorway last night.

    Officers went out at 21:50 and found a Honda Jazz being driven south on the northbound carriageway in the Sutton Coldfield area, near the junction with the A38.

    After driving into the car to force it to stop, officers discovered the driver was a 77-year-old man with dementia who had been reported missing from his home in Rowley Regis hours earlier.

     
  14.  
    HS2 north-south divide 08:40:

    HS2 - the proposed high speed rail link from London - is supposed to help bridge the North-South divide. But the debate surrounding the controversial project has arguably opened up a divide between councils in the north, who welcome the scheme, and those further south which do not.

    Artist's impression of HS2 hub in Birmingham

    A number of rural areas say their communities will be destroyed by the new line, but many cities are welcoming the project and planning grand new buildings, such as the new Curzon Street station in Birmingham (pictured).

     
  15.  
    Regeneration for Jewellery Quarter building 08:28: Birmingham Post

    A run-down listed building in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is set to be brought back to life as an office complex.

     
  16.  
    Search for girl continues 08:18:

    Police are searching for a 12-year-old girl who has been missing from her West Midlands home for more than a day.

    Eltaje Aiken

    Eltaje Aiken left her aunt's home in Vincent Street, Balsall Heath, between 10:00 and 14:00 on Monday.

     
  17.  
    Cool again 08:07:

    While there may be a scattering of showers, many places will have a dry day with some decent periods of sunshine. Despite this, it is going to be cool again.

    Weather forecast chart
     
  18.  
    Good morning 08:00: Ed Barlow BBC Local Live

    Good morning. I'll be bringing you today's news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    Email or tweet us if you'd like to contribute a photo, comment or question.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.