Soccer legend Jimmy Glazzard may have died because of his job as a centre-forward.
Doctors diagnosed the Huddersfield Town player with dementia several years before his death in 1996.
And now, as football authorities examine potential links between heading the ball and Alzheimer’s, Glazzard’s family have spoken out.
His daughter Jenny Maskell revealed a specialist told the former player that years of heading the heavy leather ball could have taken its toll.
Her comments come days after Ray Wilson’s wife Pat revealed that the former Huddersfield Town, Everton and World Cup star is suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Ironically, Wilson was one of the mourners at Glazzard’s funeral. The two had been neighbours and Wilson followed Glazzard from Leeds Road to Everton on the transfer trail.
Mrs Maskell, of Huddersfield, said: “I well remember the doctors telling Dad that his dementia could have had something to with his job.
“He was a footballer known more for using his head than his feet and years of heading a very heavy leather ball could have taken its toll.
“He was diagnosed with dementia in his 60s, years before his death, and it hit him hard. He used to go and watch Town but could not rmrmber when he got home and at the end he didn’t know me or other family members.
“He always used to talk about heading the ball when he was playing for Town and did so many hundreds of times.”
Over the weekend the FA confirmed it is asking for research into the effects of heading a ball on players as they get older. The news comes after it was revealed that Wilson and his fellow World Cup winning stars Martin Peters and Nobby Stiles are all suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Glazzard played 299 times for Town between 1946 and 1956, scoring 142 goals. He had a prolific partnership with winger Vic Metcalfe, who supplied many of the crosses which Glazzard would head.
He later joined Everton but played only three games for the Goodison Park club and had a brief spell at Mansfield Town before retiring from the game in 1957.
He then ran a greengrocer’s shop in Sheepridge for many years.
Mrs Maskell added: “I watched him play many times, having been taken to the old Leeds Road ground when I was just three.
“It was the days when the club got big crowds and a policeman would lift me on his shoulders to carry me out of the crowd.
“Dad was a real favourite”.