Denis Law, one of the most iconic figures in Scottish football history, has been diagnosed with dementia. The former Manchester United and Scotland striker revealed his condition to the public last week at the age of 79.
Denis Law, a man who was one of the most famous footballers in Manchester United and Scotland’s history, has been diagnosed with dementia.
In 1964, Denis Law won the Ballon d’Or.
Denis Law, a great of Scotland and Manchester United, has been diagnosed with dementia.
Law, 81, who claims to have Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, is the most recent former player to admit to having the degenerative brain illness.
Sir Bobby Charlton, a former United teammate, was diagnosed with the disease last year.
“This will not be an easy road,” Law warned, “particularly for those who love you the most.”
“I realize the path ahead will be difficult, demanding, unpleasant, and constantly changing, and I beg for your patience and understanding.”
“I’m aware of how my brain is failing and how my memory eludes me when I don’t want it to, causing me anguish in circumstances beyond my control.”
“I realize what is going on, which is why I want to confront my issue now, while I am able, because I know there will be days when I don’t, and I despise the idea of it right now.”
‘I’m trying to remain optimistic.’
Law, a 1964 Ballon d’Or winner, earned 55 appearances for Scotland and scored 30 international goals, cementing his place as one of the country’s all-time greats.
At Old Trafford, the striker was part of the United Trinity, which included Sir Bobby Charlton and George Best.
In his 11 years at Old Trafford, Law, who began his career with Huddersfield Town and later played for Manchester City and Torino in Italy, won the European Cup, two English championships, and the FA Cup.
“Denis Law will always be one of Manchester United’s greatest icons, and everyone at the club offers our love and best wishes to him and his family,” the club said in a statement.
“We’re certain that our supporters all around the globe will unite behind him. Denis’ courageous remarks are inspiring, and we will continue to provide any assistance we can as he adjusts to his new situation.”
After Scotland’s 3-2 win against England in 1967, Denis Law poses with an ecstatic supporter.
He says he’s “determined” to keep following the Premier League club and will continue to be engaged in the community trust established in his honor since he’s “trying to be positive.”
“I have good days and terrible days,” he stated. “I try to take each day as it comes and adapt my lifestyle appropriately.”
Law and his family are also collecting money for the Alzheimer’s Society, which has given Law assistance.
“With its Sport United Against Dementia campaign, which I completely endorse,” Law said, “the charity is also doing great work with the sports sector.”
“This has the potential to make a huge impact for past players, current players, and spectators.”
Professional footballers are three and a half times more likely than the general population to die from dementia, according to a research published in 2019.
Sir Bobby was diagnosed with dementia as the fifth member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team.
Last year, his brother, Jack, and Nobby Stiles, also died of brain illnesses thought to be related to heading footballs, while Martin Peters and Ray Wilson, who died in 2019 and 2018, respectively, also had the ailment.
It was discovered in Stiles, Peters, and Wilson when they were still in their fifties. Stiles’ son John informed former England captain Alan Shearer in a documentary shown in 2017 that he was “utterly certain” that his father’s dementia was caused by his heading a football.
Former England and West Brom striker Jeff Astle died in 2014 from a brain disease induced by heading footballs, according to a neuropathologist.
This season, new rules were implemented in England, restricting professional players to 10 “higher power headers” each week in training.
Dawn Astle, Astle’s daughter, has long advocated for research into the connection between football and brain injuries, and has worked on an advising role with the Professional Footballers’ Association to “define the longer-term neurological care provision for former players and their families.”
Kate Lee, the chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, expressed her hope that Law’s “courage in coming out will inspire many others to seek the assistance they need.”
“It’s never been more essential to finance critical research and our key support services, and to guarantee that right now, past and current players, as well as supporters, know our services are available and can get the specialized dementia care they need,” Lee said.
The news has left the Denis Law Legacy Trust “saddened.”
“His tenacity and drive propelled him from the slums of Aberdeen to the top of global football, and everyone at the Trust knows he’ll use that same fortitude to fight this disease,” said Mark Williams, the Trust’s chief operating officer.
Alan Shearer has an MRI scan because he has dementia.
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