Denis Law has revealed he is living with dementia, the former Manchester United player spoke publically about his illness on Thursday in the hope to help others affected by the condition.
The 81-year-old said he has felt “angry, frustrated, confused and worried” since being diagnosed.
“I am at the point where I feel I want to be open about my condition,” said Law.
“I have been diagnosed with ‘mixed dementia’, which is more than one type of dementia, in my case this being Alzheimer's and Vascular dementia.’
The football legend went on to highlight the strain on himself and his family coping with the illness through lockdown.
“This has been an extremely difficult year for everyone and the long periods of isolation have certainly not helped.
“It is an incredibly challenging and problematic disease, and I have witnessed many friends go through this.
“You hope that it won’t happen to you, even make jokes about it whilst ignoring the early signs, because you don’t want it to be true.
“You get angry, frustrated, confused and then worried, worried for your family, as they will be the ones dealing with it.
“However, the time has come to tackle this head on, excuse the pun.
“I recognise how my brain is deteriorating and how my memory evades me when I don’t want it to and how this causes me distress in situations that are beyond my control.
“I do understand what is happening, and that is why I want to address my situation now whilst I am able, because I know there will be days when I don’t understand and I hate the thought of that right now.
“I don’t want people to be saddened if I forget places, people or dates because you need to remember I enjoyed all those memories and I am lucky to have experienced what I have in my life - a loving and supportive family, a great career doing what I loved - and getting paid to do it - and lifelong friends.”
Law is the latest football player to be diagnosed with dementia, others include Sir Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles, Martin Peters, Jeff Astle and Gordon McQueen.
He added: “I have good days and bad days and aim to take each day as it comes, adjusting my lifestyle accordingly.
“I know the road ahead will be hard, demanding, painful and ever changing and so ask for understanding and patience as this will not be an easy journey especially for the people who love you the most.
"As a family, we have been offered support by Alzheimer’s Society and have chosen to fundraise for the charity to help support its crucial work.
“The charity is also doing amazing work with the sports industry, with its Sport United Against Dementia campaign.
“This really could make the biggest difference to former players, players, and fans alike.”
Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Kate Lee said: “We have offered support to Denis Law and the whole family.
“We are incredibly thankful to the family for choosing to raise vital funds for us and hope Denis's bravery in coming forward will encourage many others to seek the help they need, for which we are hugely grateful.
“We've seen too many sporting heroes impacted by the condition, which is why our Sport United Against Dementia campaign is needed now more than ever.
“It's never been more important to fund crucial research and our vital support services and ensure that right now, past and present players, as well as fans, know our services are here and can get the dedicated dementia support they deserve.”
Law said: “As a family, we have been offered support by Alzheimer’s Society and have chosen to fundraise for the charity to help support its crucial work.
“Alzheimer’s Society’s services have never been in more need, used over 5.5million times since March 2020, and are a lifeline to thousands of families who are also facing a dementia diagnosis.
“The charity is also doing amazing work with the sports industry, with its Sport United Against Dementia campaign, which I fully support.
"This really could make the biggest difference to former players, players, and fans alike.”
Denis Law scored 237 goals in 404 appearances for Manchester United.
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