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Nobby Stiles’ son gets removed from Doncaster’s training ground after handing out leaflets

Nobby Stiles’ son, John, gets removed from Doncaster’s training ground after being spotted handing out leaflets to raise awareness.

John Stiles, who is the son of the World Cup winner Nobby, was removed after getting into the training complex and warned players about the dangers of heading the ball.

The former Leeds defender lost his Dad back in October to dementia and has since decided to make up a leaflet and in accordance with the latest medical research, highlighted the risks involved with football today.

Ex-Doncaster Rovers star calls for dementia action after death of dad Nobby  Stiles | Doncaster Free Press

John Stiles (left), Nobby Stiles (right)

The 57 year old took to the League One outfit’s training ground, one of his former clubs, to distribute the pamphlets but was told he should leave the premises.

Undeterred by what happened, he now plots to write to every professional club in the country to ask this time if he can come to their club and give a presentation to thousands of unaware footballers.

‘It struck me, since Jeff Astle’s diagnosis there has not been one piece of literature ever sent to players warning of the risks — not one,’ Stiles told Sportsmail.

‘I don’t want these lads to get it — young, innocent lads who haven’t been warned.’ The leaflet outlines the research and pulls few punches. ‘You’re not talking about sore knees. You can replace a knee — you can’t replace a brain.’

Stiles reckons that his father would’ve backed his actions if he was still around today. ‘Dad’s brain was riddled with CTE (a degenerative disease triggered by repeated head impacts) and I know heading the ball killed him,’ he said.

‘We can’t change what happened to Dad but we can make others aware of it and I think he would have wanted me to do that.’

Stiles wasn’t surprised his got told to leave Doncaster’s training ground, saying: ‘I was told I couldn’t talk to players. I waved a few cars down and they were very polite. But the last car’s driver told me they’d been told they couldn’t speak to me.’

A Doncaster Rovers spokesperson said: ‘The training ground is private property and is under strict Covid protocols. We had no advanced knowledge of John’s arrival and he entered without permission. The club would welcome a formal approach from John.’

Nobby Stiles’ family have donated his brain for medical research so it can be examined for signs of football-induced damage.

A growing number of footballers currently in today’s game are planning on doing the same thing once they pass away including Oxford United’s John Mousinho.

He said to the club website: “I have been very moved by the stories connecting brain trauma and our sport and if we can do anything to help research the subject then I am all in favour. I was approached about donating my brain, and I was reassured to find out it’s after I die! That’s a big decision so I went home and talked it through with my wife and decided to do it.

“The PFA are working closely with the Jeff Astle Foundation and looking at the connection between dementia, concussion and heading the ball repeatedly.

“I’ve had a fantastic career and enjoyed every minute but I have headed the ball a lot and had one or two concussions along the way. It’s morbid but in order to research it fully you need a brain because scans can be inconclusive. So with the PFA and CLF’s connection I’m pleased to help, hopefully still a few years down the line!”

Dawn Astle, speaking on behalf of The Jeff Astle Foundation said: “Brain donation is the most valuable gift of all for future generations of footballers. It may be many years before this jigsaw is complete but adding each piece, one at a time is the only way we will understand the true picture and make a better future for others.

“The Jeff Astle Foundation encourages families of athletes and veterans to donate the brain of their loved one to the Concussion Legacy Project at PledgeMyBrain.org.”

That follows findings in Dr Willie Stewart’s FIELD study, which showed that ex-players are three-and-a-half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative diseases than the general public and five times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

In 2017, Alan Shearer investigated the potentially devastating link between football and dementia.

In 2020, he said kids must be banned from heading footballs over brain injury fears.

The FIELD study, published in October last year, found that pro footballers were 3.5 times more likely to die of a neurodegenerative disease than non-players of the same age.

The study did not identify a cause but repeated heading of a ball and other head injuries have been identified as possible factors.

The associations acted after consultation with European football governing body UEFA.

Campaigner Dawn Astle has called for restrictions to heading in all football training.

Her dad Jeff, who played for West Brom and England, died at 59 in 2002 from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which the coroner ruled was caused by repeated heading.

Dawn said of the announcement: “We’re really pleased. We must take steps to avoid exposing children’s brains to risk of trauma.”

Dr Carol Routledge, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: “Making sure the nation’s best-loved game is played safely is a sensible approach.”

Twitter users reacted as Nobby Stiles’ son gets removed from Doncaster’s training ground after handing out leaflets…

@afrancis_oafc: Wellens, you should be ashamed of yourself

@johneem: It’s baffling how this campaign was all over the tv and media a year or so ago and now it’s forgotten as if it never was a thing 🤔

@SergeMUFC: Utter disgraceful. Jon does excellent work.

@ForeverAYellow: Although he was kinda in the wrong for randomly just getting himself inside the training ground without permission, I kinda wish in this situation the players defended his reason for being there and kept him from being removed, John clearly means well

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