The eldest daughter of former Doncaster Rovers star and dementia sufferer Ernie Moss has revealed the family will donate his brain to a ‘bank’ when he dies to help with research into the illness’ link to football.
Inspirational Ernie, 68, who was part of the Rovers' team who won promotion from Division Four in 1983-84, was officially diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia five years ago.
Ernie, who is also all-time record goalscorer for Chesterfield, where he is considered a club legend, recently had a road named after him in the Derbyshire town.
His devoted family, along with a number of other families of former footballers, has long campaigned for a full study to explore the links between heading a football and brain damage.
And now, after much pressure, including a recent BBC documentary by ex-England international, Alan Shearer, the sport’s governing body, The Football Association, has finally commissioned a study to start in January.
Explaining the decision to donate Ernie’s brain to a ‘bank’, his eldest daughter, Nikki Trueman, 43, said “We made the very harrowing decision to donate dad’s brain to a brain bank so we can find out definite answers.
“If we do not do it there will never be any concrete evidence. We thought that we did not have any other choice.”
Giving her thoughts on the new study, mum-of-three, Nikki, said: “I think it is amazing – and about time too.
“It is not going to help my dad or the other sufferers but for the future generations it is good.”
The recent BBC documentary has propelled the issue further into the spotlight and Nikki said it needed a ‘big name’ like Shearer to make people stand up and listen.
“I thought it was amazing,” she said. “The documentary was very informative and he put the points across well.”
There was one part of the documentary – where chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association Gordon Taylor said he did not know how many footballers currently had dementia – which dismayed the family.
“For him not to know that was disgusting,” Nikki added.
Nikki said that she is ‘definitely’ convinced about the dementia-football link and would like there to be a facility where former footballers with dementia could go and have a kick-about.
She said that the only activities her dad has been offered is knitting and singing.
On how Ernie is now, Nikki said: “The hardest thing for me is that he can’t speak because he was always so articulate. “We just care for him because we love him and we can’t do anything else.”
Ernie, 67, scored 15 goals in 44 appearances for Rovers between 1983-84.