Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle retires from football blaming heading the ball for “repeated headaches”

Kevin Doyle has become the latest footballer to link head injuries with heading the ball, after announcing his retirement from the game due to “repeated headaches”.

The Republic of Ireland international, who has won 63 caps playing for his country, said he made the decision after suffering “numerous” concussions during his 15-year playing career which included spells in the Premier League for Reading and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The 34-year-old target man, who had been playing in the MLS for Colorado Rapids said:

“This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic and causing me to have repeated headaches.

“Two concussions this season and numerous others over the years have made this more concerning.

“I'm sad to announce that after listening to medical advice I will play no further part this season and will be retiring.

“I will take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me during my career, especially my family, all the coaches and team-mates I've had and the fans of any team I've played for, whether in Ireland, the UK or the USA.”

Earlier this year the Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association announced they were setting up a study to look into the potential links between heading footballs and brain damage.

In 2002, the former England and West Brom forward Jeff Astle dies aged 59 as a result of ‘brain trauma’. In 2014 his brain was re-examined and he was found to have dies from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – a condition recently linked with American Football players.

Dr Willie Stewart, the neurosurgeon who carried out the examination, said that Astle’s condition had been caused by heading footballs throughout his career.

The joint research commissioned by the FA and the PFA will look into whether degenerative brain disease is more common in ex-footballers than it is in the rest of the population.

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