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Former Man United, Leeds and Scotland defender Gordon McQueen diagnosed with vascular dementia

Former Manchester United, Leeds and Scotland defender Gordon McQueen diagnosed with vascular dementia when his family revealed he ‘wants other players of the current generation to know there can be risks with persistent heads off the ball’

  • The family of former defender Gordon McQueen confirmed the news Tuesday
  • Ex-Scotland international started his career with St Mirren before moving to Leeds
  • McQueen then went on to enjoy a successful period at Manchester United

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

The 68-year-old began his career at St Mirren before moving to Elland Road in 1972, where he won the First Division two years later and was instrumental in their run-up to the 1975 European Cup Final.

McQueen had a successful time at Manchester United, representing Scotland 30 times, scoring five goals.

Gordon McQueen's family has revealed that he was diagnosed with vascular dementia in January

Gordon McQueen’s family has revealed that he was diagnosed with vascular dementia in January

After leading Airdrie through a coaching career with time at Middlesbrough, the ex-center-back became a popular TV pundit at Sky Sports.

A statement from his wife Yvonne, daughters Hayley and Anna, and son Edward to the PA news agency said: “In January, Gordon McQueen, our father, was formally diagnosed with vascular dementia.

As a family, we felt it was important to let people know, especially when raising awareness can help others in similar situations.

While we have found it difficult as a family to face the changes in father, he has no regrets about his career and has lived life to the fullest.

He had unforgettable experiences during his playing days at Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds United, as well as getting so much from his coaching and TV work in more recent times.

Through football, he has traveled the world and experienced things he could only have dreamed of.

But he wants other footballers of the current generation to know that there can be risks with persistent heads off the ball.

Dad has scored some important goals in his career and memorable headers, but always stayed back in training and kept heading the ball to the goalkeeper for practice.

He wonders if this may have been a factor in his dementia since his symptoms appeared in his mid-sixties.

Last year of lockdown has been tough because Dad is such a social person and thrives in company.

‘Social interaction is key for someone with dementia and has been remembered for so long. He is still fully aware of his friends and family, and his memory of all things football is sharp, but his cognitive functions are not the same.

“ We don’t want people to be surprised by his condition or keep asking him for media interviews or signatures he can’t do anymore.

While he looks forward to seeing people again after lockdown and getting the social aspect of life back, we know people will see a big difference in his health, so we wanted to be transparent.

“We thank everyone in advance for their understanding and hope that sharing this news will help Dad face the future in a positive way.”

McQueen’s former 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’ World Cup-winning teammate, Nobby Stiles, died of dementia last year.

The Football Association is currently supporting two independently-led studies examining former professional players for early signs of neurocognitive degeneration.

The University of Nottingham’s FOCUS study is funded by the FA and Professional Footballers’ Association, while the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s HEADING study is funded by the Drake Foundation.