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Gary Pallister speaks out on dementia fears

Gary Pallister speaks out on dementia fears.

Former Manchester United defender Gary Pallister has expressed his fears that he will one day be diagnosed with dementia.

Pallister was a key member of Alex Ferguson’s side in the 1990s, helping the club end their 26-year wait for a league title as part of a formidable central-defensive partnership with Steve Bruce.

Standing at almost 6 feet 4 inches, heading was a pivotal component of Pallister’s game as he looked to keep opponents at bay while chipping in with some important goals at the other end of the pitch.

Twenty years after retiring from football, Pallister has now outlined his dementia fears in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph.

Gary Pallister: I’m a prime candidate for dementia.

“I’m probably one of those who have stuck my head in the sand and thought, ‘I hope it’s not me,'” the four-time Premier League winner said.

“I suffered awful migraines. I’ve been knocked clean out. I’ve been on the pitch, woken up and not known where I am.”

“You put it all together and you start thinking, ‘Crikey, I’m a prime candidate for dementia.

“It’s not a 100 per cent thing, I’m guessing, but you are thinking, ‘If you are a betting man, the odds are that you are probably at some time in your life going to get it.'”

Several former footballers diagnosed with dementia.

Pallister speaks as the conversation around dementia in football gets more prominent. Fellow ex-Man United men Bobby Charlton and Denis Law have been diagnosed with the disease in the past year and Pallister paints a dark picture when describing the symptoms he endured throughout his career.

“I had to go into a darkened room,” the now 56-year-old says.

“I started throwing up. I would lose my speech. Get tingling on my arms. Lose my vision. Get blurred vision. It felt like I had a head full of seashells. Any movement caused pain. It was a real weird feeling. It would wipe me out for two days.”

English football brings in heading limits.

Pallister is certainly not alone when it comes to ex-footballers fearing they may have dementia. Earlier this year, Premier League players were advised to conduct a maximum of 10 ‘higher-force’ headers in training per week as part of new heading guidance in the professional and amateur game.

We’re living in a different era to the one that Pallister played football in and he can only be commended for speaking out so honestly on his fears.

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