Major new medical research linking motor neurone disease with heading a football can be revealed for the first time today.
American scientists made the discovery after examining the brain of a player who suffered from the condition before his death.
It has led to calls for a more detailed programme of research to look at the link between the sport and MND.
Already the family of one of football’s most famous MND sufferers, Celtic and Scotland legend Jimmy Johnstone, have said the findings have convinced them his decline could be linked to the game.
It follows increasing evidence, highlighted by the Sunday Mail, linking dementia with heading a football.
Researchers working on the new project looked at the case of former Chicago Fire player Patrick Grange, who died of MND, known as ALS in the US, aged 29.
His family donated his brain to scientists at Boston University’s Sports Legacy Institute.
Analysis found he had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – a condition thought to be a trigger for several cognitive diseases including MND, dementia and Parkinson’s.