Football and Dyslexia

10th June 2021

This week ‘Football Fever’ has begun! With Euro 2020 beginning tomorrow, 11th June, there will be a month long non stop football watching madness in this household. Not by me I hasten to add, but I will be patriot during the England matches.

BBC and ITV will be sharing the broadcasting of each game in the Uk. Within the host of famous presenters on the BBC programmes will be former England Captain Rio Ferdinand who retired from International football in 2013.

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand calls time on career
Rio ferdinand – England captain

Rio Ferdinand is also dyslexic. I was happy to read this week that within a specialist school in Oxfordshire, The Unicorn School, children have been writing letters to their favourite dyslexic celebrities which included Rio Ferdinand. I hope he has time in this busy football period to write back.

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation, helps young people to reach their potential and build wellbeing skills to increase confidence and self esteem. Have a look at their website or follow them on social media.

Whilst doing a little research on Rio Ferdinand I came across a Guardian article written by the ‘ghost writer’ of his book, journalist Decca Aitkenhead. I think this book might go on my ‘to be read’ list.

Within this article there was a particular paragraph which struck a personal chord for me.

“The one thing about Rio that isn’t normal, however, is his memory. It is shocking! I’ve seldom known anyone so jaw-droppingly hazy about past life-defining moments, but while this made it tricky at times to get narrative details straight, it also dramatised another big theme of the book, and gave an insight into the price many men must pay for professional success. From an early age, an elite footballer must train his mind to focus on winning, to the exclusion of all else. Rio could recall the minutiae of a mid-table away match for Man Utd in 2009, but when asked about a key detail of family history would frequently scratch his head and admit: “You’ll have to ask my mum.” Football had simply left very little space in his head for anything else.”

The personal chord this struck? Lets just say, after 20 years of marriage, I have had my share of this very same thing. 

Talking of memory; is this an issue of selective memory recall, dyslexia challenges or maybe the amount of ‘heading’ the ball I do not know.

Which leads me to another interesting article I read this week in the Science daily from October 23rd 2018.

This study of 87 Penn State Football players was a part of a larger project which looks into the neuroscience of head impacts in athletics. It’s an interesting study by Northwestern University into the possibility that a dyslexic gene makes some athletes less susceptible to concussions.

So whether you love or loathe football get ready for a month of ‘football fever’. Let’s hope the sun continues to shine so for the ones that wish to escape can do so. And to all the England fans….. Is football coming home?

As always I love to receive your comments, please reply in the box below or to my email within my home pages.

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