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Former Man Utd and Aston Villa defender Gibson has dementia

Former Manchester United and Aston Villa defender Colin Gibson has revealed that he is suffering from dementia. Photo: @IndoSport/Twitter

Former Manchester United and Aston Villa defender Colin Gibson has revealed that he is suffering from dementia. Photo: @IndoSport/Twitter

Published May 11, 2022

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London — Former Manchester United and Aston Villa defender Colin Gibson revealed on Wednesday that he is suffering from dementia.

Gibson, who played for United from 1985 to 1990, was diagnosed with the disease in November 2021.

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The 62-year-old first showed signs of dementia in 2016 but still works as a match-day host for Leicester, another of his former clubs, at their King Power Stadium.

"I'm not going to go down without a fight," Gibson told the Daily Mail.

"Sometimes you get yourself into a slightly embarrassing position where you completely forget something and you haven't got an answer and can't find the words.

"They think, 'Oh look at that thick footballer'. It felt logical (announcing his diagnosis). At least people around us can then understand.

"The reason we're doing this is to make more people aware. If we can help just one person, it's worth it."

Gibson was a member of the Villa side that won the club's most recent English top-flight title in 1981.

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He was also an unused substitute in Villa's 1982 European Cup final victory over Bayern Munich.

"All at Aston Villa are thinking of 1980/81 First Division and 1982 European Cup winner Colin Gibson, who has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. You have the full support of everyone at the club Colin," Villa said on their Twitter feed.

There are growing concerns over the link between heading a football and long-term brain injury.

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Glasgow consultant neuropathologist Willie Stewart has carried out research showing ex-professional footballers were 3.5 times more likely to die from neurodegenerative diseases than the general population.

Several members of the 1966 England World Cup-winning squad, including Jack Charlton and Nobby Stiles, were suffering from dementia at the time of their deaths.

Stewart said there was "no evidence yet suggesting changes in the modern game have altered the risk".

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A care department for former players living with neurodegenerative disease has recently been set up by the English Professional Footballers' Association.

AFP

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