Legendary Hibs player Peter Cormack speaks out about his dementia

Former Hibs midfielder Peter Cormack has spoken for the first time about his battle with dementia.

Sunday, 10th November 2019, 7:45 am
Peter Cormack.
Peter Cormack.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland with his wife Marion, Cormack said he is ‘comfortable’ with his Alzheimer’s, and is happy so long as things don’t get any worse.

News of Cormack’s condition was released by his family in late October after a major study revealed a link between football and dementia.

The 73-year-old was given a diagnosis in 2017, but his family started noticing changes as far back as 2002.

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Former football players are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than non-players in the same age range, revealed a study of more than 7,500 ex-professionals by Glasgow University.

Looking back on his time as a player, the Hibs hero said having to head the ball in wet weather was ‘like somebody punched you’.

He recalled having his head in a bandage with blood trickling down his face as the result of one match injury.

“It was harder then, especially for guys that played up front, because of the tackling,” he told presenter Stephen Jardine.

He added: “I remember at times it was great when the weather was dry, but if it had been raining and the wall had got wet there was a difference in heading it then.

“It was like somebody punched you!”

Cormack said the sport is less tough on players nowadays, as the ball is lighter, but he would still question players being asked to head the ball in wet weather.

Marion spoke of the challenges of living with her husband’s condition.

“It’s quite difficult at times. You tell Peter something and within an hour, or even shorter than that, he’s forgotten all about it,” she said.

The evidence of a link between football and dementia came as no surprise to the legendary player’s family.

Marion remembers Cormack suffering head injuries during his time as a Hibs player.

“I can remember Peter actually having knocks, more so at HJibs funnily enough when we first met one another, when he probably did have concussion, but there was nothing done about it then,” she said.

“You didn’t have any concussion breaks or anything like that to see if you were concussed.”

Marion said she was ‘quite frightened’ that Cormack’s condition might quickly deteriorate.

But the former player himself was more hopeful.

“I think if it stays the way it is, as long anything doesn’t affect me or get any worse, I’ll be quite comfortable dealing with things as they are,” he said.