Tue. Mar 2nd, 2021

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Former Manchester United player Gordon McQueen diagnosed with dementia

3 min read

Former Manchester United player Gordon McQueen has been diagnosed with dementia, his family said.

They said the former Scottish international fears his diagnosis of vascular dementia may be linked to persistent heading of the ball during his time as a player.

McQueen, 68, who won the FA Cup with United in 1983, wants to warn footballers today of the potential risks associated with heading the ball, a family statement said.

He was diagnosed in January, and in recent times worked as a pundit on Sky Sports. He had previously been diagnosed with throat cancer.

He is the latest ex-footballer to be diagnosed with dementia, with Sir Bobby Charlton also being diagnosed.

His brother Jack Charlton and fellow 1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles both died after living with the condition.

The statement released by McQueen’s wife Yvonne, daughters Hayley and Anna and son Edward to the PA news agency read: “In January, Gordon McQueen, our dad, was formally diagnosed with vascular dementia.

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“As a family we felt it was important to let people know, particularly if raising awareness can help others in similar situations.

“Whilst as a family we’ve found it hard to come to terms with the changes in dad, he has no regrets about his career and has lived life to the full.

“He had unforgettable experiences in his playing days with Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds United, and also took so much from his coaching and TV work in more recent times.

“Football has allowed him to travel the world and experience things he could only have dreamed of.

“But he wants other footballers of today’s generation to know there may be risks with persistent heading of the ball.



Hayley McQueen and her dad Gordon McQueen in his playing days at Manchester United.

“Dad scored some important goals in his career and memorable headers but used to stay back in training, heading the ball to the goalkeeper for practice over and over.

“He does wonder if this has been a factor in his dementia as his symptoms appeared in his mid-60s.

“The last year in and out of lockdown has been tough as dad is such a sociable person and thrives off company.

“Social interaction is key for someone with dementia and he has been deprived of this for so long. He is fully aware of his friends and family still and his memory of all things football is sharp, but his cognitive functions are not the same.

“We don’t want people to be surprised by his condition or continue to ask him for media interviews or autographs which he is not able to do any more.



Hayley McQueen

“Whilst he is looking forward to seeing people again after lockdown and getting the social aspect of life back, we know people will see a big difference in his health so wanted to be transparent.

“We thank everyone in advance for their understanding and hope sharing this news will help dad to face the future in a positive way.”

McQueen’s daughter Hayley, a presenter on Sky Sports, later posted on Twitter: “Heartbreaking not to be spending precious time with dad of late but trying to stay positive & also raise awareness about vascular dementia as a family.

“It’s a cruel disease but had plenty help recently from both @PFA and @FA. Thank you for the messages of support on here already.”

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