Alzheimer’s Research UK calls for more funding to understand link between sport and long-term brain injury

09 March 2021

Alzheimer’s Research UK says more funding is needed to understand the link between sport and long-term brain injury – as evidence was given to MPs for the first time ahead of a new parliamentary inquiry into concussion.

Today (Tuesday 9 March) MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee heard from experts about the links between head injuries sustained through sport and the increased risk of long-term brain injury.

The UK’s leading dementia research charity argues that with evidence still emerging about the links between professional sport and dementia risk, much more funding is needed for research in this area.

Susan Mitchell, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“The evidence given today makes it abundantly clear that more research is needed to fully understand the risks associated with specific sports and dementia. Recent studies linking certain sports and dementia will be concerning to many people, but with limited evidence so far we need to see further research to better understand these relationships.

“The launch of the parliamentary inquiry is helping to shine a further spotlight on the issue and has rightly focused attention on the need to protect people from dementia. It’s only through funding research to gather more evidence in this area that we can begin to fully understand what’s driving these associations, which is critical for informing policy decisions to reduce the risk of dementia. In the meantime, there must also be consideration of the steps that can be taken to minimise the risk of injury to players, while balancing this with the benefits of exercise.

“While we continue to build our understanding in this area, it’s vital that people are aware of the steps they can take to reduce their risk of dementia. There are currently no sure-fire ways to prevent dementia, but the best evidence shows what’s good for our hearts, is good for our brains. This includes staying mentally and physically active. People can find out more about what they can do to reduce their risk of dementia by visiting Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Think Brain Health campaign.”