Former Liverpool and England midfielder Terry McDermott has revealed he has been diagnosed with dementia. McDermott, 69, announced on the Liverpool website that he was in the early stages of Lewy body dementia.
“I have to get started and I will. This is the way I was brought up. Nothing came easily to me ”, McDermott said. “I’m not afraid to face him and also, as we’ve seen, there are a lot of ex-players in worse shape than me.
“Fighting is second nature. The worst part is that until my condition is diagnosed you don’t know what is going on. The number of former players diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is startling.
McDermott made 329 appearances and scored 81 goals for Liverpool between 1974 and 1982, helping the Reds win four league titles and the European Cup three times as well as the UEFA Cup and League Cup two times. In 1979-80, he became the first person to win major Football Writers ‘Association and Professional Footballers’ Association awards in the same season; his strike during that FA Cup quarter-final campaign at Tottenham also won the goal of the season.
He played for Newcastle on either side of his time at Anfield and then served as assistant manager at St James’ Park in two spells, most notably under Kevin Keegan. McDermott won 25 caps in England.
McDermott’s diagnosis came shortly after it was announced that Manchester United and Scotland greats Denis Law was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The Football Association is supporting two research studies examining former professionals for early signs of neurocognitive degeneration.
England World Cup winners Nobby Stiles, Jack Charlton, Ray Wilson and Martin Peters are among those who have died of dementia, while former players treated for related conditions include Sir Bobby Charlton, Gordon Cowans, Dave Watson , Chris Nicholl and Gordon McQueen.
“A big thank you to all for the messages of support, I am touched and upset by all” McDermott tweeted shortly after his diagnosis was made public. “Everyone is appreciated and will help me in the fight against this. Special thanks to @LFC for supporting me throughout this ordeal. “