Last updated : 23 December 2004 By editor

The Guardian reports:

‘Tommy Cavanagh was a football man to the core. The former Manchester United assistant manager now lies in a hospital bed with his mental state deteriorating rapidly. He and his family attribute his condition to his repeated heading of the ball as a player and coach.

‘"Unfortunately he missed out on today's big salaries and in his hour of need there is no help whatsoever," said his daughter Deborah. "We have inquired about help with respite care and long-term care and have been given a cold shoulder by the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association]."

‘Compensation would be paid out if sufficient research were presented to the government to deem brain damage from heading as an industrial injury. But time is running out for many of these former footballers.

‘The PFA has been inundated with requests for financial help but Taylor claims that paying out in heading-related cases would bankrupt the union. "The private cost for this kind of treatment is £30,000-£35,000 a year," he said. "For even a thousand former members it would cost us £35m."’