Man Utd's Casey Stoney calls for research in risk of heading in women's game while Hope Powell backs concussion subs

CASEY STONEY says she "cannot ignore" frightening links between heading the ball and dementia in later life now that she is a mum of three.

The former Arsenal skipper, 38, revealed she would be willing to take part in a study on the risks of heading on the brain health of ex-female pros.

Experts have suggested that female players could be at a greater risk of developing dementia in later life.

But Stoney, who enjoyed a 20-year playing career and made 130 England appearances, has never been approached to take part in any research on the issue.

The Red Devils boss said: “I headed the ball a lot (as a player), an awful lot and sometimes not very well, so it hurt, to be honest.

"I’d be really open to being involved in any research because I think it’s so important that we’re open to that.

“You can’t ignore it, you have to think about it, and I’ve got three children as well. 

“You do read about what happens, and people seem to be getting younger now that have come out of football and picked up dementia, and sometimes it’s fatal – it’s not a nice read.

"So of course you start thinking about yourself.  

"I would be more than happy to be part of any research to make sure we can protect players in the future."

The Manchester United boss is among four WSL gaffers backing the introduction of concussion subs following Raul Jimenez’s horror head injury. 

Brighton chief Hope Powell, Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro and Bristol City head coach Tanya Oxtoby say they would welcome the trial of additional subs to cover for concussed players in the top-flight.

Oxtoby, 38, who suffered concussions during her playing days, believes additional subs could offer coaches more flexibility.

She said: “I had two or three concussions when I played and it’s horrendous. 

“I think to give the managers and the club that opportunity to be able to manage that a little bit better – I’m all for that in whatever format that looks like."

Trials of concussions subs are expected to get underway in the Women’s FA Cup if they are given the go ahead by the International FA Board on December 16.

Stoney added: "I don’t understand why a male player would be more important than a female player in terms of player safety."

The United chief joked: "We get the good trials [in the women’s game], we get VAR at the World Cup, so why don’t we get something that would actually benefit players?"

Brain injury charity, Headway, who have been lobbying football authorities to take action, say more study is needed on the impact of head injuries on sportswomen.  

Chief Peter McCabe said: “Research suggests that females may be more susceptible to concussion than males and may take longer to recover.

“This is an important area of research as it is vital we have a better understanding of the nature and reasons for any such differences.” 

Seagulls gaffer, Powell, revealed one of her players had recently been knocked out, so she is eager to see the trials commence.

The ex-Lionesses boss, 53, said: “If they need to trial it, they need to test it, whatever they need to do to safeguard the player is fine by me.”

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