The SPFL have announced the approval of concussion subs, news coming days after former Leeds United and Scotland defender Gordon McQueen was diagnosed with vascular dementia.
McQueen represented St Mirren, Leeds United and Manchester United at club level alongside 30 Scotland caps, managing Airdrie for a short spell. But his family have confirmed he was diagnosed last month.
A statement reads: “In January, Gordon McQueen, our dad, was formally diagnosed with vascular dementia. As a family we felt it was important to let people know, particularly if raising awareness can help others in similar situations.
“Whilst as a family we’ve found it hard to come to terms with the changes in dad, he has no regrets about his career and has lived life to the full. He had unforgettable experiences in his playing days with Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds United, and also took so much from his coaching and TV work in more recent times.
“Football has allowed him to travel the world and experience things he could only have dreamed of. But he wants other footballers of today’s generation to know there may be risks with persistent heading of the ball.
“Dad scored some important goals in his career and memorable headers but used to stay back in training, heading the ball to the goalkeeper for practice over and over. He does wonder if this has been a factor in his dementia as his symptoms appeared in his mid-60s.”
This news comes just as the SPFL approve concussion substitutes. Following a vote by all 42 clubs, the rule change will come into force from March 6 on a trial basis until the end of the season.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “The safety and wellbeing of players is clearly of the utmost importance to everyone involved with running football. The tragic news that Gordon McQueen has been diagnosed with dementia is the latest reminder of why it is vital that we do everything we can to protect those playing our game.
“We have seen a great deal of positive development in concussion protocols across sport in recent years and we hope that our participation in this trial will be the next step in that process.”
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