Daily Express

Headers link to star’s tragic dementia death

- By Liz Perkins

A FORMER internatio­nal football star died suffering dementia after years of heading a ball, an inquest heard.

Defender Keith Pontin, 64, played for Cardiff City between 1976 and 1983, winning two caps for Wales.

But he was diagnosed with dementia aged just 59 following concerns over his memory loss.

His family believed it was caused by years of heading the ball, a link recognised by the inquest.

Senior coroner Graeme Hughes said: “His death may have been caused or contribute­d to by his work in that during his earlier life he was a profession­al footballer.”

Keith’s wife Janet, 52, of Pontyclun, South Wales, is now campaignin­g for football authoritie­s to compile a register of former players with dementia in order to get a better picture of the causes. She described Keith as “a great husband, a great dad, a great laugh”.

But she added that – although she is very proud of his career – she now looks back and wonders “whether it all worth it?”

The inquest heard that a postmortem revealed Keith died at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisan­t, on August 2 of chronic traumatic encephalop­athy – a brain disease linked to repeated blows to the head.

And Mr Hughes added that research suggested footballer­s face a stronger than average chance of dementia. He said: “There was some evidence within the medical investigat­ions undertaken which would suggest a causal link between his career in football and the developmen­t of his Alzheimer’s and his cause of death as chronic traumatic encephalop­athy.”

Mr Hughes adjourned the inquest in Pontypridd, South Wales, until next year for more medical evidence.

 ??  ?? Defender Keith Pontin
Defender Keith Pontin

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom