A semi-professional footballer says an injury caused by heading a football during training caused him to develop Parkinson’s disease at just 36.
Matt Dimbylow clashed heads with another player during a game, which doctor believed caused some kind of brain trauma.
But now, the 47-year-old, who was plagued by mood swings and confusion as a result of his medication for the degenerative condition, has decided to try to manage the disease with exercise instead of drugs.
Matt, from Sandiway, Cheshire, said: “When I was diagnosed, it was really difficult. I was a dad to two girls – Lauren, now 16, and Ella, now 14 and I was still very young.
“But continuing to exercise has kept me strong and now my intensive regime has meant I have been able to avoid the side effects and I feel like I am in control of the condition.”
Matt is speaking out to raise awareness of Parkinson’s, at a time when former England footballer Alan Shearer has turned the focus on head injuries in sport and the link to brain conditions in later life, in his TV documentary, Dementia, Football and Me.
A member of the English Universities football team in the 1990s, at the time of his injury – sustained after he and another player knocked heads – Matt was a semi-professional football player.
He explained: “I was involved in an accidental clash of heads. Doctors think it was a whiplash-type injury that caused some brain trauma.