Albion chief executive Paul Barber has urged the football authorities to do more to find out if heading the ball has any effects in later life.

Head injuries within football have become a big talking point in recent months after Wolves striker Raul Jimenez suffered a fractured skull in a collision with Arsenal David Luiz in November, which required surgery and left him with a scar.

The Mexican international only returned to training on Thursday,nearly three months after the incident.

At the end of last month, te Premier League introduced permanent concussion substitutions.

It means teams can make a maximum of two concussion substitutions each.

The additional substitutions may be used regardless of the number of changes a team has made already in the game.

But Barber believes more needs to be done by the authorities.

Speaking at a fans forum on Wednesday night, he said: “Personally, I think the introduction of concussion substitutions is a really good thing,certainly as when I played football a long time ago head injuries weren’t in any way treated seriously and weren’t taken seriously and I got quite a bad one when I was 18.

“From that point of view, I think it is a really good thing and long overdue.

“Particularly, when you look at the number of dementia cases that seem to be linked to former footballers and clearly the era when the balls were much heavier than they are now, meaning that heading those balls on a repetitive basis could not be good for you.

“I remember heading balls at school that left you dizzy, which cannot be good for anyone.

“But I think more work needs to be done from the FA, the PFA and by all the football authorities into seeing if there is a link between heading footballs and what follows later in life.

“In academy football, we have got some protocols that we follow.

“But in academy football, the number of times kids head the football is very low because the ball is played so much on the floor.

“In times past there would have been a lot of drills done where constant balls were being headed out and that is not the way we develop young players anymore.”

However, it not just the Jimenez incident that has thrust the subject of brain injuries into the limelight in the sporting world.

Late last year several former international sports stars were diagnosed with dementia, including ex-footballer and 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Charlton, plus rugby internationals Steve Thompson and Alix Popham.

Sobering research from the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in 2019 showed that footballers are three-and-a-half times more likely to die from neurodegenerative conditions compared to the general population.

Thompson is leading a group of former elite rugby players in filing a brain injury claim against English and Welsh rugby authorities, as well as international governing body World Rugby.

The group is arguing alleged negligence from the governing bodies and states that repeated blows to the head sustained during their years of playing the sport have led to brain damage.

Their lawyers claim there are up to 80 former players between 25-55 years of age, who are exhibiting neurodegenerative symptoms, prepared to back the group.

These diagnoses also prompted the formation of a new charity, Head for Change, to provide support for ex-football and rugby players who have been diagnosed with brain injuries as a result of their career.

Registered in December 2020, the charity works with leading scientists to make a positive change and lessen sport-related neurodegenerative conditions.