Everton legend Mick Lyons, 70, reveals dementia battle

Everton legend Mick Lyons, 70, reveals dementia battle as his daughter says he can remember ‘everything’ from his career but struggles with short-term memory – and he believes illness is due to heading a football

Everton legend Mick Lyons is living with dementia, with his family today announcing another one of football’s favourite sons is feeling the consequences of his long and distinguished career.

Lyons is in the early stages, still living life to its fullest in Australia and was able to talk about his love of Everton, the club he captained and represented 473 times as a defender.

Now 70, Lyons was diagnosed last year. His short-term memory is not the best, but he is able to recall the good old days in great detail and how heading a heavy wet ball was like ‘thud, thud, thud’.

Mick Lyons celebrates scoring a goal for Everton against Birmingham back in November 1974

Lyons has today revealed his battle with dementia, which is still in its early stages

Lyons has today revealed his battle with dementia, which is still in its early stages

‘Everton was my team from the age of eight,’ Lyons said. ‘Me, my brother, and my dad got season tickets. We’d get the bus, the 44D. It would go all the way to Everton’s ground. We loved it. I was just very lucky. It was a dream come true (to captain Everton). I felt seven foot tall.’

Lyons’ announcement comes a day after the PFA launched an initiative to learn the full extent of the dementia problem in English football, with the players’ union calling for families to come forward.

On being a brave player, Lyons continued: ‘Or daft! I used to like heading the ball. I do obviously think the more you headed the ball, the more likely you were to forget things. I just get through OK.’

Lyons was born on the same day – and in the same hospital – as former Liverpool midfielder Terry McDermott. He, too, is living with dementia. The Everton great says he does not worry about his diagnosis and that all he can do is ‘get on with it’.

Lyons (right) played 473 times for Everton as a defender, and also captained the club

Lyons (right) played 473 times for Everton as a defender, and also captained the club

He believes the amount he headed the ball has contributed to his dementia diagnosis

He believes the amount he headed the ball has contributed to his dementia diagnosis

He still watches his beloved Everton, despite the time difference in Australia meaning matches occasionally kick off at 4.45am. ‘It’s prayers every time we play,’ said Lyons, who isn’t sure football would be the same if it removed heading from games.

Lyons now lives in Australia where his son, Michael, helps him.

His daughter Francesca, who’s been supported by Dawn Astle, the daughter of West Bromwich Albion legend Jeff Astle, said: ‘He says it’s from heading the ball, but he remembers everything from years back, football matches and scores and everything.

‘There are loads of pictures of him with blood pouring down his face. He just went in for it, gave it his all for the clubs he played for. He loved what he did.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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