Former Scotland defender Gordon McQueen diagnosed with dementia | Soccer

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Former Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds defender Gordon McQueen has been diagnosed with vascular dementia, his family have said.

The 68-year-old started his career at St Mirren before joining Elland Road in 1972, winning the Premier League two years later and playing an important role in their run to the 1975 European Cup final.

McQueen went on to have a successful spell with Manchester United and represented Scotland 30 times, scoring five goals.

Having led Airdrie through a coaching career that included time at Middlesbrough, he became a popular TV expert with Sky Sports.

A statement released by his wife Yvonne, daughters Hayley and Anna and son Edward said: “In January, Gordon McQueen, our father, was officially diagnosed with vascular dementia. As a family, we felt it was important to educate people, especially if awareness can help other people in similar situations.

“While as a family we have struggled to come to terms with the changes in Dad, he has no regrets about his career and has lived his life to the fullest.

“He has had unforgettable experiences in his playing days with Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds United, and has also benefited a lot from his coaching and television work lately.

“Football has allowed him to travel the world and experience things he could only have dreamed of. But he wants other footballers of the current generation to know that there can be risks with a persistent header.

McQueen was revered for his bravery in the air. The header is seen here for Leeds v Coventry in 1976. Photographie: Colorsport / REX / Shutterstock

“Dad scored some important career goals and some memorable headers, but he used to stay in training, directing the ball towards the keeper to practice over and over again. He wonders if this was a factor in his dementia as his symptoms started in his mid-60s.

The family said McQueen “is always fully aware of his friends and family and his memory of all football related matters is sharp, but his cognitive functions are not the same. We don’t want people to be surprised by his condition or keep asking the media for interviews or autographs, which he can’t do anymore.

McQueen’s former Leeds teammate Jack Charlton died of dementia last year and it has been confirmed in recent months that Sir Bobby Charlton has been diagnosed with the disease. The brothers’ 1966 World Cup-winning teammate Nobby Stiles died of dementia last year.

The Football Association is supporting two independent research studies examining former professional players for early signs of neurocognitive degeneration.


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