THE family of an Oxford City legend are hoping recent high-profile cases of dementia in ex-footballers can help lead to some meaningful action.

Tony Bradbury, who also starred for Witney Town, died aged just 63 in 2007, having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease seven years earlier.

In the period since there has been little progress made in the link between players of his era and dementia.

But the issue is gradually gaining traction – and was thrust back into the spotlight with the recent diagnosis of Sir Bobby Charlton.

Four of Charlton’s teammates in England’s 1966 World Cup-winning line-up who have died over the last two and a half years – his brother Jack, Ray Wilson, Martin Peters and Nobby Stiles – were also suffering from dementia.

A study published last year revealed former footballers are approximately three-and-a-half times more likely to die from neurodegenerative disease than the general population.

Sally Bradbury, who was married to Tony for 44 years, hopes the cases involving household names can help lead to more progress.

“Absolutely,” she said.

“They are high profile, people remember the World Cup and it clicks in their minds.

“Certainly you want it to be investigated more.

“It’s 13 years ago and it’s still painful. It’s a horrible disease.

“Two of my grandchildren play football and you are concerned about that.”

Bradbury is not the only

well-known local player to suffer, last year Oxford United stalwart John Shuker died having been diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Two new research projects into the link between footballers and the disease are ongoing, while the Football Association published new guidelines earlier this year which recommended that heading should not form part of training sessions for children of primary school age.

Bradbury’s daughter Julie, a double Olympian in badminton, said: “For all the footballers at my dad’s age there’s an acceptance that this is a real thing and it’s serious.

“I wouldn’t want other families to go through what we went through.

“If we can do our bit to make sure more pressure is put on the powers that be then it can only be a good thing.”