Football legend champions Osteoarthritis campaign

2 July

Founding partner of Sport Community, Xpro Life After Sport, has been campaigning for many years to have osteoarthritis among ex-professional footballers recognised as an industrial injury.

The campaign has been spearheaded by Jim Walker, ex-professional and former longstanding physio at Aston Villa.


Jim Walker during his time as Aston Villa physio

Jim said:

“Professional footballers are entitled to the same Health and Safety legislation as an employee in other occupations. There is a legal responsibility that employees not only ensure they do not put themselves at risk but also ensure they do not put other persons at risk of injury.

“Footballers are at a greater risk (1000 times more likely to be injured) than other workers who do not participate in sport. ”

Fourteen years ago the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) decided there was insufficient evidence to recommend the prescription of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee and hip in professional footballers. However, Jim and his colleagues believe a Nottingham University study from 2017 provides sufficient evidence for IIAC to reconsider its decision and they have made representations on behalf of the many hundreds of ex-pros who are suffering from osteoarthritis.

Getting osteoarthritis recognised as an industrial injury would entitle ex-professionals to claim industrial injuries disablement benefit.

The IIAC is continuing to review the medical evidence.