sport news The family of England 1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles donate his brain to ...

The Widow and children of World Cup 1966 winner Nobby Stiles have donated his brain to science - to research crippling sports-related dementia.

Ex- star Stiles, who won 28 England caps, died aged 78 last October after being stricken with Alzheimer's.

Stiles played a key role in neutralising Portugal star Eusebio in the '66 semi-final, before harassing West Germany in our dramatic 4-2 final win.

Now his family have revealed they donated his brain for a specialist autopsy by the Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group (GBIRG).

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They - along with Dr Judith Gates, wife of dementia-stricken Middlesbrough defender Bill - are now urging other ex-players with dementia to sign up for brain donation.

Nobby's widow Kay Stiles - sister to Leeds United legend Johnny Giles - said: 'We had briefly spoken about the donation of Nobby's brain during his illness.

'But it is a very hard thing to think about when you're still seeing the person every day.

'However, when Nobby passed away I thought of how much he had suffered.

'If by donating his brain it could help stop one person suffering as he did, then we must do it.'

GBIRG is based in the Laboratory Medicine building at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow and led by leading neuropathologist Dr Willie Stewart.

Dr Stewart's team are investigating the link between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and impact-related dementia chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Nobby's sons John and Rob said they were 'convinced for a long time' that CTE killed their father - particularly after talking with Dr Stewart.

Retired midfielder John Stiles, 56, made over 150 League appearances for teams including Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers.

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John said: 'To me it was crucial we donated his brain to help the cause of former players, of which I am one, and current players, many of whom are suffering and will suffer the horrors of dementia.

'The decision, however, was my mother's and I'm proud to say she had the courage to do so.

'A brain autopsy is the only way to definitively prove the scandal in football of heading induced CTE.

'It is a hard decision to make, but I ask all football families to consider the fact that by getting definitive proof it can make a real difference.'

While Rob, 52, said: 'We knew if dad was asked whether he would donate his brain to help other players, the answer was obvious - of course he would.

'It was also important to us as a family to find out whether dad's dementia was caused by the game he loved.

'The results of the autopsy confirmed what we suspected all along, concluding that he suffered CTE associated with TBI and head impact

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