Frank Lampard led the Premier League managers on Thursday in support of Sportsmail’s call for immediate action to tackle football’s dementia crisis.
Lampard wants stricter limits on young players heading the ball in training, and admitted he was re-examining Chelsea’s training methods.
Other managers including Graham Potter, Dean Smith and Slaven Bilic echoed his thoughts on the need to unite and address research that proves professional footballers are three-and-a-half times more likely to suffer from dementia in later life.
‘We have to start with youth football,’ said Lampard. ‘The rules need to be stronger to make sure we’re not letting young children head it. They don’t need to. And in the developing years, that’s more than possible.
‘We can control the levels of training. I am not sure, technically, how important it is to overload training at that age, and if we now know there is a health aspect to it then we can control that.
‘I am certainly considering how we train here because of the seriousness of the issue.’
Lampard — who called for a ‘get-together of smart minds’ including ex-players and pros to establish a set of training guidelines — also wants to see modern football support those players from previous generations.
‘The eras they played through were not as advanced as ours,’ he said. ‘We have the research, the proper medical insights into potential reasons why dementia has affected these players.
‘We have to support them. So I am fully backing any movement that looks further into this, and firstly helps players of eras gone by who are suffering, and their families, and secondly looks at players now and to the future.
West Brom manager Bilic praised the work of Laraine Astle — the widow of former Baggies striker and dementia victim Jeff — to raise awareness of the disease.
Bilic said: ‘If they find out through the research that heading the ball 10 times during training is going to cause you dementia, then let’s stop it. Let’s find a way. The great thing going forward is they are talking about it and recognising it.