Are professional soccer players at higher risk for ALS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the observation of several deaths from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) among Italian professional soccer players, an association between ALS and soccer has been postulated, supported by high rates of morbidity and mortality risks in large cohorts of professionals. Several factors may explain this. A history of repeated (head) injuries is reported more frequently by ALS patients than by individuals with other clinical conditions. An association between exercise and ALS has also been suggested, but results in animals and humans are conflicting. Some clinical and experimental observations suggest a relation between ALS and use of substances such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, and dietary supplements including branched-chain amino acids. Although Italian soccer players may be at higher risk of ALS than players in other countries, and higher than expected disease frequency seems soccer-specific, increased attention by the Italian lay press is an explanation that cannot be excluded. However, growing evidence points to the possibility that soccer players with ALS are susceptible individuals who develop the disease in response to combinations of environmental factors. Only cohort and case-control studies carried out with the same design in different European countries can provide a definite answer to this suspected but still unconfirmed association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-506
Number of pages6
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Volume14
Issue number7-8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Fingerprint

Soccer
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Dietary Supplements
Craniocerebral Trauma
Case-Control Studies
Observation
Exercise
Morbidity
Mortality

Keywords

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Soccer
  • Sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

Cite this

Are professional soccer players at higher risk for ALS. / Beghi, Ettore.

In: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, Vol. 14, No. 7-8, 12.2013, p. 501-506.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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