Gordon McQueen’s daughter opens up about his dementia diagnosis: ‘It’s like he’s locked in himself’

The former Machester United defender was diagnosed with the condition two years ago

Eoghan O'Donnell
Wednesday 05 April 2023 16:33 BST

Hayley McQueen has opened up about her father, Gordon McQueen, who is struggling with dementia.

Gordon, 70, was diagnosed with the condition two years ago. Hayley alleges it was spurred by repeatedly heading heavy balls during his football days. Gordon is the latest footballer to be diagnosed with the syndrome.

According to studies conducted by the Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group, footballers are five times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Presenter Hayley has called for a sports-wide ban to heading during training sessions as a result.

Speaking on Wednesday’s (5 April) instalment of Good Morning Britain, Hayley revealed the extent of her father’s condition.

She said: “It’s like he’s locked in himself”.

“He knows who we all are, which is very weird because I associate dementia with not having a clue what on earth is going on or who anybody is and I quite like that fact, from a selfish point of view,” she added.

When the McQueen family initially heard about the dementia diagnosis, they considered not telling Gordon, but he eventually found out.

“Part of me is like ‘if he didn’t know who we were, where we were, it maybe wouldn’t be so hard to think about potentially the day when he has to go into a home. At least he doesn’t know where he is or what’s going on’.”

“He is completely bedridden, which is awful. A big strapping man, just in bed,” Hayley added.

The BBC reports that 378 former players across football, rugby league and rugby are taking legal action against governing games bodies they allege were “negligent in failing to take reasonable action to protect players from permanent injury caused by repetitive concussive and sub-concussive blows”.

According to the NHS, dementia is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. There are many different causes of dementia, and many different types.

Symptoms of dementia include problems with memory loss, thinking speed, mental sharpness and quickness. It is estimated by the NHS that by 2025, over one million people in the UK will be living with the syndrome.

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