Billy McNeil dies aged 79
Posted on 24th April 2019 at 09:25
Death of Famous Footballer Highlights Traumatic Head Injury in Sport
Billy McNeil, former Glasgow Celtic captain and manager died on this week aged 79 after suffering dementia. McNeil was a true legend and icon of the game, the first Briton to lift the European Cup in 1967.
Mc Neil died from dementia as a result of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is believed to be caused when Tau proteins are released within the brain following a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Traumatic Brain Injuries occur in people exposed to varying severity of injury from repetitive mild TBI (eg after a career in football, rugby or boxing) as was the case for Billy McNeil, to single moderate or severe TBI (such as after an assault or car accident).
Our understanding of the human brain is very limited, unlike other organs in the body where the anatomy and physiology is understood due to the Victorians study of the human body. The study of the brain has not been possible until advances in medicine such as CT scans, MRI scans and EEG traces.
Modern sports follow strict concussion guidelines with players completing a graduated return to play following a concussion or suspected concussion to help prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries like concussion leading to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Lessons 4 Life director Allison Middlemas teaches candidates how to identify and treat concussion as part her role as medical tutor for The Football Association, The Rugby Football League and The Rugby Union. Allison is the only tutor in Yorkshire qualified to teach for these sports organisations. We also teach as candidates on our First Aid for Sports courses how to identify and treat concussion. These courses are also recognised by the RFL as being suitable for pitch side first aiders.
Further research into Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is being done by many medical experts including those at The Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group more information can be found at
There is also an Audible series The Beautiful Brain by Hana Walker-Brown which is an excellent source of more information about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. This series includes interviews with forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu made famous in the film Concussion starring Will Smith, Dr Bennet Omalu was instrumental in the discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy after the post mortem of former NRL American Footballer Mike Webster and another famous footballer Geoff Astle who also died of dementia as a result of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The Beautiful Brain is currently available to listen for free from
We would urge anyone involved in contact sports to learn more about Traumatic Brain Injuries such as concussion and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to book onto a First Aid for Sports course.
Tagged as: Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, Concussion, First Aid, Sport Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury
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