CHERRIES boss Jason Tindall has welcomed more research into whether heading footballs can increase the risk of dementia in later life, also outlining how the illness has affected members of his own family.

The issue has again been in the headlines in recent weeks following the death of England legend Nobby Stiles last month.

Stiles had been living with dementia for many years, while his Manchester United and England team-mate Sir Bobby Charlton has also recently been diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease.

Former England striker Gary Lineker has been among a group of ex-professionals who have suggested a need to reduce or ban heading in training - even at the top level.

Stiles’s son John has also backed calls to look at the amount of heading professional players do in training, while World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst wants heading restricted in training at all levels.

Cherries have already taken measures to restrict heading amongst their academy, particularly for children below under-12s level. The Dorset club also use a lightweight ball to practice heading between under-12s and under-16s.

Asked for his thoughts on the questions around whether heading a football can be a cause of dementia, former centre-back Tindall said: "Without a doubt I headed a lot of balls over the years.

"If we can do more research into finding out if football and heading footballs does really contribute to it and what impact that actually does have on any individual, I think that will help the game moving forwards. Potentially then protocols could then possibly be put in place.

"I think it’s a sad illness. When people suffer from dementia, I’ve got a couple of people in my family who unfortunately have got it and have had it, and it’s not nice to see the effects that that does to people.

"I think anything we can find out to prevent it or to help towards it, I think will be a great cause and a great thing that we can do."

Discussing his own personal experiences with dementia within his family, Tindall added: "It’s not connected to football. My nan and an auntie of mine have both got it, one slightly older and one at a younger age than expected.

"To see the impact that had on them, I would certainly be keen to find out more about the causes of dementia.

"If football and heading footballs is a cause of it and what impact that has I think would really help the game itself."