Back in March we reported that CCFPA had teamed up with researchers at Nottingham University’s School of Clinical Sciences to support an investigation into ‘Osteoarthritis Risk in Retired Professional Footballers’.
Their project, supported by PFA, the FA and FIFA (amongst others) aims to break new ground in investigating the prevalence and risk of osteo-arthritis amongst ex professional footballers (matched to a similar group of non footballers). Their aim is to find out whether the rigours of playing the game has exacerbated the risk of contracting the condition especially in affecting the the chances of osteoarthritis of the knee joints.
CCFPA committee member Mike Young has been leading the Association’s collaboration with the University’s City Hospital facility in Nottingham and its lead researchers Gwen Fernandes and Sanjay Parekh with the first phase of the research, organising the delivery of a detailed postal questionnaire to all of the eligible British members of the Association aged over 40. This was also done by a number of other Former Player bodies around the country (including, for example, the PFA, and FPAs in Derby & Cardiff and others) in an attempt to contact as large a sample of possible of former professionals. Gwen reports that nationally the survey has produced 1115 returned questionnaires so far representing a very respectable response rate of around 25% of those sent out to all recipients.
On behalf of the the Nottingham University researchers CCFPA sent out just over 200 questionnaires to eligible members and, to date, at least thirty one (around 15%) of our former players replied – though others had likely responded earlier to requests from the PFA and/or other clubs they had played for.
The second phase of the research which is now underway (with Cambridge as the pilot site) involves selected former players being invited for a free clinical examination (involving a specialist knee x-ray scan) at a convenient local hospital. The news is that, of the replies from our former players over two thirds (21 FPs) have already consented to take part when phase two it is rolled out to the rest of the country! Gwen confirms that all 21 former players who consented to take part in the x-ray stage of our research from the CCFPA sample will be contacted and an appointment arranged for them mostly likely in the summer (probably within the next 3 months). Thanks to all Association members who have consented to take part in the research!
When completed the project’s results should show, for the first time, the extent to which osteo-arthritis is a special challenge for the footballing profession (and medically what, possibly age-related, impact it develops). This could not only benefit the treatment of past and current professionals but also lead to preventative strategies for younger players who are taking up the game.