Liverpool legend Terry McDermott diagnosed with dementia

Liverpool legend Terry McDermott becomes the latest football legend to be diagnosed with dementia… with tragic news coming just days after Manchester United icon Denis Law also confirmed he has the brain disease

  • Terry McDermott has revealed he is the latest football great battling dementia 
  • Liverpool legend McDermott admitted he has been diagnosed after some tests 
  • He has said, however, that he is not afraid of the fight with the brain condition
  • McDermott’s sad news comes days after Denis Law revealed he has Alzheimer’s

Terry McDermott, who won three European Cups and five league titles in a glittering career with Liverpool, has revealed he is the latest football icon battling dementia.

The Anfield legend has bravely admitted he has been diagnosed after undergoing a series of tests – and confesses it’s a battle he is not afraid of taking on.

McDermott’s shattering news was disclosed just days after another football icon, Denis Law, revealed he too has Alzheimer’s disease.

‘I’m not frightened of taking it on,’ he said. ‘There are a lot of players in a worse state than me.’

Messages of support have poured in for the 69-year-old, many from current Anfield players and staff, and McDermott has vowed to carry on his duties working as a Liverpool matchday host. 

He was at Anfield this weekend when Liverpool beat Burnley 2-0 to go top of the Premier League. 

Liverpool legend Terry McDermott has been diagnosed with dementia, it has been confirmed

The former Newcastle, Liverpool and England star, known as Terry ‘Mac’, was a hero on The Kop where the all-action midfielder was part of the Merseyside club’s golden age. 

He went on to make 329 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 81 goals, and helped the club to win three European Cups – he opened the scoring in the 3-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in the 1977 final – and five league titles.     

Before starring for Liverpool he also played for Bury and Newcastle and finished his career in Cyprus playing for APOEL.

McDermott also won 25 England caps, appearing for Ron Greenwood’s Three Lions at the 1980 European Championship finals in Italy.

Icon McDermott is pictured holding the Player of the Year trophy he memorably won in 1980


Neuropathologist, Dr Willie Stewart, has established former players are 3.5 times more likely to die of neurodegenerative diseases than the general public.

Dr Stewart is one of the leading experts on the link between football and dementia having studied the medical records of 7,676 men who played professionally between 1900 and 1976.

In addition, the scientist also conducted tests on the brain tissue of the celebrated West Bromwich Albion centre forward, Jeff Astle, in 2014, concluding the striker suffered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition traditionally associated with boxers. 

The University of Glasgow academic told the MPs earlier this year that while it will be difficult to demonstrate a direct causal link between heading a football and suffering dementia forty years later, he said, ‘on a balance of probabilities, I think we are there’.

MPs on the Digital, Culture Media and Sport select committee has been investigating the link between sport and brain disease.

It has heard from experts and campaigners, including Dawn Astle, the daughter of West Bromwich Albion forward, Jeff.

Jeff Astle died Astle aged 59 in 2002 from a degenerative brain disease due to heading the ball and Dawn has been an indefatigable campaigner.

His daughter told MPs she had taken up the campaign over football and dementia after her father had been badly let down.

‘Football doesn’t want to think that football can be a killer. But I know it can be, because it’s on my dad’s death certificate,’ she said.

‘I want to make sure players affected are looked after properly,’ she added. ‘And I want to make sure the game is safe for players now and in the future.

He went on to become a much-respected coach, memorably sharing the dug-out alongside Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan when the Magpies pushed Manchester United all the way in a thrilling title race in 1996.

McDermott revealed it was a chance on-stage conversation with Keegan which hinted something was wrong and persuaded his wife, Carole, to encourage him to have an examination.

‘We were on stage,’ said McDermott, ‘and Kevin was telling a story and handed over to me to finish it off. My mind went blank and I said I couldn’t remember what had happened next. 

‘The audience started laughing and thought it was part of the act.’

A generation of greats, including World Cup-winning brothers Sir Bobby and Jack Charlton, have been diagnosed with dementia.

McDermott wonders if endless games of ‘head tennis’ may have been a factor in his diagnosis though he’s now determined to look ahead rather than back and focus on fighting the dreadful disease.

‘I’ve got to get on with it and I will,’ he said. ‘It’s the way I’ve been brought up. Battling is second nature.’

English football, responding to the growing number of dementia cases affecting former professionals, has this year introduced new regulations limiting the number of headers during training sessions. 

Last year guidelines were brought in to stop children under the age of 11 from heading footballs at all in training.

McDermott’s tragic revelation comes just days after Manchester United icon Denis Law admitted he is battling with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. 

Law, now 81, said that the ‘road ahead will be hard, demanding, painful and ever-changing’, and United issued a statement vowing to aid him with the condition.

He is the sixth member of the United squad who won the European Cup in 1968 to have been diagnosed with the degenerative disease.

Sir Bobby Charlton’s family announced that he has dementia in November, just two days after Nobby Stiles, a fellow suffered, passed away.

Tony Dunne, Bill Foulkes and David Herd were also diagnosed before their deaths. 

McDermott has vowed to bravely face up to the fight and has vowed to keep attending Anfield

Denis Law revealed recently he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia

 Law is the sixth member of Manchester United’s European Cup-winning team to be diagnosed


The DCMS backed several demands put to football’s governing bodies by Sportsmail in our seven-point charter last November:

1 – Increased funding from the FA and PFA for independent research into dementia and its links to football.

  • Achieved (FA put out a new call for more research this year) and backed by DCMS.

2 – The PFA to provide respite for families and carers of former professional footballers living with dementia.

  • Achieved (Sportsmail has spoken to families of former footballers who are now receiving help from the players’ union).

3 – The PFA to appoint a dedicated ‘dementia team’ and work with, promote and financially assist Alzheimer’s Society’s Sport United Against Dementia campaign and Dementia Connect support line.

  • Achieved (Dawn Astle and Rachel Walden agreed to work with the PFA on an initial six-month advisory basis).

4 – The PFA to help fund regular social events for people living with dementia and their carers.

  • Achieved (the PFA Charity has partnered with the Sporting Memories Foundation).

5 – Dementia to be formally recognised as an industrial disease.

  • Still campaigning, backed by DCMS.

6 – Football’s lawmakers, IFAB, to ratify temporary concussion replacements.

  • Still campaigning.

7 – Clubs to limit heading at all levels. Maximum of 20 headers per session in training. Minimum 48 hours between sessions.

  • Awaiting new rules for this season.

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