David Watson Manchester City 1977 football Manchester City v Leeds

Former Man City player and England captain Dave Watson has neurodegenerative disease

Former Manchester City footballer Dave Watson has been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease that was 'most likely' brought on by head injuries during his playing career.


Former Manchester City defender Dave Watson has a neurodegenerative disease that was “most likely” brought on by head injuries and repeated heading of the ball.

The 73-year-old, who played for City between 1976-79 making 146 appearances, retired in 1986 but his wife believes the effects of playing have caused him to to suffer from the disease.

Penny Watson said her husband is "in all probability (suffering from) Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy" which is what caused former West Brom striker Jeff Astle's death in 2002.

A statement released by Mrs Watson explained that her husband did not regret his playing time but believes his illness is due to repeated heading of the ball and the 'many' head injuries he suffered.

"Now seems like the right time to inform you that for several years my husband Dave Watson, former England football international player and captain, has been battling a neurodegenerative disease," the statement to PA Sport read.

"His consultant has concluded that the condition Dave is now living with is in all probability Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) - most likely caused by Dave's many head injuries, including severe concussions, and repeated heading of the ball.
A blood stained Dave Watson, right, of Man City holds aloft the trophy after the match.

"Dave has good days and bad days. He endeavours to continue to live and enjoy a normal life, as best as possible, however almost every day we are confronted with a new challenge. If you come across him at a match or elsewhere, please don't be afraid to interact with him. Understand that he may not be able to converse in the way he once did, but he still loves to talk about football and share a laugh.

"Please be considerate if he is having a bad day and struggling. This disease plays tricks on his memory, so he may not be able to remember accurately, and he may find signing autographs a challenge.

"The last thing Dave wants is to be treated with pity. He has always been a fighter, as those of you who watched him play know but this is one battle Dave cannot win. Even though things have not ended up as we both planned, Dave does not regret pursuing his passion, doing what he loved - playing football."