Dawn Astle and Rachel Walden to help shape PFA’s dementia policy

<p>Dawn Astle’s father Jeff - a former England striker and legend at West Brom - died in 2002 </p> (Getty Images)

Dawn Astle’s father Jeff - a former England striker and legend at West Brom - died in 2002

(Getty Images)

Dawn Astle will advise the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) on its campaign to battle dementia in the sport.

The daughter of former England striker Jeff Astle – who died in 2002 - has been appointed alongside Rachel Walden to help shape the PFA’s policy on the brain disease, as it faces up to the impact of heading in the game.

Walden’s father Rod Taylor, who played for Portsmouth, was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease after his death in 2018.

Sir Bobby Charlton is the latest high-profile former player to have been struck by dementia, while fellow 1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles died in October after suffering from the disease.

Astle has campaigned for recognition of the link between dementia and football. She and Walden will advise on long-term care programmes after being appointed in an initial six-month role.

PFA assistant chief executive Simon Barker said: “The PFA has publicly committed to improving the support provisions for families living with dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

“This is a first and essential step, in trying to provide a comprehensive and holistic service.

“Dawn and Rachel’s insight and experience will be invaluable to help families both now and in the future.”

Astle said: “As the players’ union, the PFA is uniquely placed to make a real difference to those families living with dementia.

“I will be challenging the PFA to use their voice and influence more strongly within the game, and to take the lead on the issue moving forward.”

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