The former Liverpool and England midfielder Terry McDermott has revealed he has been diagnosed with dementia. McDermott, 69, announced on Liverpool’s website that he is in the early stages of Lewy body dementia.
“I’ve got to get on with it and I will. It’s the way I’ve been brought up. Nothing has come to me easily,” McDermott said. “I’m not frightened of taking it on and also, as we’ve seen, there are a lot of former players in a worse state than me.
Terry McDermott (right) with his Liverpool and England teammate Emlyn Hughes on international duty in 1979. Photograph: Mark Leech/Getty Images
“Battling is second nature. The worst thing was, until my condition was diagnosed you don’t know what’s going on. The number of ex-players being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s is frightening.”
McDermott made 329 appearances and scored 81 goals for Liverpool between 1974 and 1982, helping the Reds to lift four league titles and the European Cup three times as well as the Uefa Cup and League Cup twice. In 1979-80 he became the first person to win the main awards of the Football Writers’ Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association in the same season; his strike that campaign in an FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham won goal of the season, too.
He played for Newcastle either side of his time at Anfield and was later assistant manager at St James’ Park in two spells, notably under Kevin Keegan. McDermott won 25 England caps.
McDermott’s diagnosis has come shortly after news that the Manchester United and Scotland great Denis Law has Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. The Football Association is supporting two research studies examining former professionals for early signs of neurocognitive degeneration.
The England World Cup winners Nobby Stiles, Jack Charlton, Ray Wilson and Martin Peters are among those to have died from dementia, while former players being treated for related conditions include Sir Bobby Charlton, Gordon Cowans, Dave Watson, Chris Nicholl and Gordon McQueen.