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AFP
February 15, 2020

Watson has brain illness

Sports

AFP
February 15, 2020

LONDON: Former England defensive stalwart Dave Watson is suffering from a degenerative brain disease probably brought on by repeatedly heading the ball, his wife revealed on Friday.

Penny Watson said in a statement released to the PA news agency that her 73-year-old husband’s consultant thinks it is “in all probability Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy” -- a disease determined as the cause of former West Brom striker Jeff Astle’s death in 2002. She says the 65-times capped Watson -- a member of the Sunderland side that stunned favourites Leeds United in the 1973 FA Cup final -- contracted the illness probably as a result of one of his great strengths as a player, namely heading the ball. “His consultant has concluded that the condition Dave is now living with is in all probability Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) -- most likely caused by Dave’s many head injuries, including severe concussions, and repeated heading of the ball,” Penny said.