ALS hits Serie A players six times more, a study reveals

ALS hits Serie A players six times more, a study reveals

ALS hits Serie A players six times more, a study reveals. In the photo published by Ansa, David Beckham with Stefano Borgonovo, a football player struck by ALS

ROME – It is true that in professional football you get sick more and much earlier than amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The players, in fact, develop the disease 2 times more than the general population. In series A the risk goes up 6 times.

SLA hits Serie A players six times more

These, in summary, are the conclusions of an in-depth epidemiological study conducted by Ettore Beghi and Elisabetta Pupillo, both researchers of the Mario Negri IRCCS Institute for Pharmacological Research, in collaboration with Letizia Mazzini of the Novara University Hospital and with Nicola Vanacore of the 'Istituto Superiore di Sanità, which will be presented in Philadelphia at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

The research started with an examination of the names of the players in the Panini sticker collections, starting from the 1959-1960 season up to that of 1999-2000, in which 23,875 Serie A, B and C players were involved, followed up to 2018 by the researchers of the Mario Negri Institute. In the period considered by the study, 32 cases of ALS were ascertained. The most affected are the midfielders: 14; more than double the attackers: 6; while the defenders were 9 and the goalkeepers 3. "What our research confirms – Beghi explains – is that the risk of ALS among former footballers is about 2 times higher than that of the general population. Analyzing the A series, the risk rises even 6 times, but the real novelty consists in having highlighted that the players get sick with ALS at a younger age than those who have not played soccer. The onset of the disease among football players is around 43.3 years while that of the general population in Italy is 65.2 years ".

Pupillo comments: "So we are faced with an early onset of 22 years in the case of footballers, so not only do they get sick more, but they contract the disease at an earlier age than those who have not played football. Furthermore, the data may not be definitive because some cases may have escaped journalistic and legal investigations, the main sources of our information ".

Damiano Tommasi, president of the Italian Footballers' Association and former Roma and National midfielder, on the collaboration with the Mario Negri Institute, adds: "The research data, and not the first time, highlight this connection between football and SLA that on the one hand it worries and on the other it invites us to pay attention to any initiative that can help us learn more. The hope is that through research solutions can be given to the many people affected by this terrible disease ".

source: Agi.

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