“He asked if there could be a link – he said that his father could head a ball further than he could kick it,” said Williams. “The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced. The brain is a very delicate and fragile organ.”
Roger Thomas says that his father once even scored a goal from inside his own half with his head and, as he witnessed his deterioration, he thought of the comparison to boxing.
Williams has since also been in touch with the family of Trevor Ford, the former Wales striker who became the most expensive player in British history when he moved from Aston Villa to Sunderland for £30,000 in 1950. Ford began to show symptoms of dementia around the age of 70 and died in 2003. His son, David, now says “there is no doubt” his father’s dementia was linked to football.