Former Arsenal and England footballer Alan Smith to lead concussion discussion with Headway Hertfordshire

Headway Hertfordshire's services are designed to meet the needs of people affected by brain injury and their carers

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 2:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 2:04 pm

Sports fans in Hertfordshire are being offered the chance to hear local legend and former Arsenal and England star Alan Smith take part in an online panel discussion that will focus on the issue of concussion in sport.

The free event - which takes place via Zoom on Wednesday, May 5, at 7pm - is being run by Headway Hertfordshire, a local charity that supports people affected by brain injury while campaigning to reduce its prevalence.

Sky Sport’s commentator Alan will share his views on how attitudes to concussion in football have changed over the years and how he feels the sport can do more.

Guests tuning in will also have the opportunity to put questions to Alan, whether relating to his playing career or his views on concussion, as well as to other members of the panel including former GB skeleton athlete Eleanor Furneaux whose Olympic career was cut short by a devastating head injury that forced her to retire at the age of just 24.

Eleanor, who recently gave evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into concussion in sport, said: “No matter what level you play, it’s so important to remember that you have the rest of your life ahead of you and you can’t risk something as important as your head.

“You think you’re doing the right thing by pushing through, but everyone wants you to stay healthy for the rest of your life. You’ve got a life to live after sports.”

Joining Alan and Eleanor in the panel discussion will be a selection of young local sportspeople who have experienced concussion.

Alan Smith will lead the concussion discussion at an event organised by Headway Hertfordshire

The discussions will explore their attitudes to concussion and what they feel can be done to encourage people to play sport in a safe way.

John Archer, Chief Executive of Headway Hertfordshire, said: “Concussion in sport is such a topical and important issue. As a charity that supports local people to rebuild their lives following brain injury, we are passionate about trying to reduce the number of people whose lives are forever changed by head injuries.

“We are equally passionate about encouraging people – particularly youngsters – to get active and play sport. The issue is how we can do that in a world where collisions in sport are seemingly becoming more common and more impactful as we get faster, stronger and fitter.

“We are very grateful to Alan, Eleanor and all our guests for sharing their time and experiences. I’m sure it will be a fascinating event and it’s not everyday you get to hear from an England legend – and local hero!”

Former Arsenal and England footballer Alan Smith to lead concussion discussion with Headway Hertfordshire

How to get involved

The event will take place via Zoom on Wednesday 5 May at 7pm.

It will be free to take part, but guests will be invited to make a donation to the charity.

Guests do not have to pre-register and joining details will be published on the charity's website, Twitter and Facebook page.

Headway Hertfordshire works closely with people who have a brain injury, their carers and families.

The charity aims to reduce social isolation, improve health and wellbeing and give carers a break, as well as raising awareness with local groups, professionals, statutory authorities, charities and others through presentations, talks and face to face meetings.