Joe Kinnear health: Ex-footballer's family goes public about his 'late stage' condition

The family of Joe Kinnear have announced that the former football legend is battling “late stage” dementia. His family have gone public about the former Tottenham Hotspur defender’s progressive brain decline to raise awareness about the woefully overlooked link between the game and its detrimental impact on the brain. Joe was diagnosed with an aggressive form of early onset vascular dementia in 2015, the year after leaving Newcastle United, and his condition is being made public on Wednesday with the blessing of his wife Bonnie and daughter Russelle.

Bonnie suspects repetitive heading was the primary cause of Joe’s decline.

“I’ve been greatly saddened to see so many former players battling dementia,” she said.

“It’s just awful. They insure footballers against breakages, so why not against dementia? There must be enough money in football to help those who need it.

“And they must take further steps to make the game safer for those playing now and in the future. More has to be done in both areas. This is not about us – it’s about the whole of football.”

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Joe’s daughter Russelle is also convinced of the link.

“Common sense tells you that the damage starts as soon as you start heading a ball,” she said.

“This is about educating schools, academies, parents and coaches. It has been totally heartbreaking. I feel like my parents have been robbed of so many good years together.”

Mounting evidence shows the devastating impact of the sport on the brain.

“He started to get moody – a bit depressed,” she said, casting recalling the fateful end of 2014.

“I thought, ‘this isn’t right’. Then he got aggressive in certain situations. It just wasn’t Joe. It was a problem trying to get him to see somebody but we eventually got him to a doctor and he was diagnosed in 2015.”

Bonnie explained that Joe was given a diagnosis of early onset vascular dementia and, since then, his condition has worsened.

“He’s in the late stage. It is heartbreaking to see how someone can change.”