The players get sick before and more than ALS, but there is no association with the teams in which they have played

ROME – The players get sick before and more than ALS but there is no association with the teams in which they have played.

This was revealed by the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research through a press note published on its website marionegri.it.

The study conducted by   Elisabetta Pupillo and by Ettore Beghi of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research IRCCS, in collaboration with Nicola Vanacore of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità and with the Italian Footballers Association (AIC), published in the scientific journal Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis & Fronto Temporal Disease , compared to what was previously communicated, it excluded any association between the teams in which the players had played and the onset of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) , while confirming the correlation between the game of football and the onset of neuronal degeneration.

As previously communicated, the study, in fact, confirmed a widespread belief: footballers fall ill with ALS to a greater extent than the general population.

The search started from the examination of 23,586 players , identified through the Panini Almanacs, who played in Serie A, B, C from the 1959-'60 season until the 1999-2000 season.

The study update to 2019 identified 34 cases of ALS .

The most affected are midfielders: 15; more than double the attackers: 7; while there are 9 defenders and 3 goalkeepers.

The risk of ALS among ex-footballers turns out to be about 2 times higher than that of the general population, and the risk goes up even 6 times analyzing only Serie A.

In addition, footballers get SLA at a younger age (45 years) than those who have not practiced football (European average: 65.2 years).

“The definitive data – comments Ettore Beghi of the Neuroscience Department of the Mario Negri Institute – tell us that the differences on the age of onset are confirmed important.

The players get sick on average at 45 years, that is, 20 years earlier than the rest of the population.

The motivation is unfortunately not yet clear.

Today we have definitive data from a study we started in 2013 that confirm the anticipation of the age of SLA's onset in footballers and that a large number of footballers fall ill with ALS , but we still don't know why ".

"Our data instead confirm that there is no association between the teams in which the players have played and the onset of the disease – adds Elisabetta Pupillo , Head of the Unit of Epidemiology of Neurodegenerative Diseases of the Mario Negri Institute –

Other studies conducted together with European and American colleagues, however, lead us to think that the cause is not the game of football itself, but a series of contributing factors, yet to be defined in detail.

These include the role of trauma, intensive physical activity, a genetic predisposition and more.

Each factor could have a role that is still unclear to date ”.

“This study – concludes Elisabetta Pupillo – has laid the foundations for further investigations with international collaborations, aimed at deepening our current observations.

We have a big responsibility and we want to go all the way.

I thank the President Tommasi for the sensitivity and the extraordinary collaboration shown by the whole AIC.

AIC was an active part of this study, collaborating closely with researchers in gathering the necessary information "(sources marionegri.it and tandfonline.com).

Source: Blitz Quotidiano

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