McQueen then grew to become a preferred Sky Sports activities pundit, earlier than it was introduced in February 2021 that he had been formally identified with vascular dementia following the onset of signs over the previous few years.
It adopted information of lots of of different former footballers dwelling with early onset dementia and, after a marketing campaign that was launched by The Telegraph in 2016, analysis which discovered that ex-professionals have been 3.5 occasions extra prone to die of neurodegenerative illness.
This included a five-fold elevated threat of Alzheimer’s, a quadrupled threat of motor neuron illness and a very elevated threat for former defenders like McQueen who most continuously headed the ball.
McQueen’s 15-year taking part in profession straddled the eras of the ‘outdated leather-based ball’ and the artificial footballs that are used as we speak, including to the rising educational and anecdotal proof that dementia in soccer shouldn’t be an issue confined to 1 specific period.
McQueen’s daughter, Hayley, has spoken publicly of her father’s sickness lately and the way he would keep behind in coaching to repeatedly observe his heading.
‘Past heartbroken… I simply really feel numb’
Skilled footballers in England at the moment are suggested to solely full 10 ‘high-impact’ headers over an extended distance in coaching every week, whereas novice gamers are advised to not head the ball greater than 10 occasions per week in coaching. The Soccer Affiliation launched trial matches with no heading in any respect in below 12 video games final season.
McQueen himself questioned whether or not repeatedly heading the ball was a think about his dementia when he grew to become sick and his prognosis was introduced simply over two years in the past. The illness would tragically develop quickly to the purpose the place he has been largely bed-ridden since final December and has required thrice-daily visits from hospice carers. Difficulties with swallowing meant that he was solely consuming pureed meals.
“Past heartbroken… I believed when the day got here I’d be ready and really feel a way of reduction that he’s now not making an attempt to battle this terrible illness however I simply really feel numb,” mentioned Hayley McQueen.
“I’m hoping we are able to now bear in mind him for the person he was and never the person he grew to become this previous few years. We thought we have been shedding him when house palliative care got here to take care of him again in December, we have been distraught however being the large sturdy man that he’s, battled on for a lot of months.
“While it’s been unimaginably unhappy and at occasions insufferable for my mum who has cared for him at house we’ve had treasured time with him while this merciless illness and all that comes with it utterly took over, he definitely put up a battle. One consolation was he knew all his family and friends proper until the tip, however to observe somebody slowly die I wouldn’t want on anybody. Life actually gained’t be the identical with out him, however he’s now at peace.”
Manchester United, whose legendary former gamers Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Regulation are additionally dwelling with dementia, mentioned they have been “heartbroken” and despatched “love and condolences” to the McQueen household.
A Leeds United assertion added: “The ideas of everybody at Leeds United are with Gordon’s spouse Yvonne, daughters Hayley and Anna, son Eddie and grandchildren Rudi, Etta and Ayla, alongside along with his pals at the moment.”