Concussion education needed
CONCUSSION AWARENESS: FOLLOWING A survey by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and the GPA that revealed 54 per cent of those questioned in Gaelic games have suffered concussion, with 42 per cent not remembering the rest of the game, the GAA yesterday endorsed an awareness video campaign.
“If a player returns to the field with a concussion they put themselves at risk of second impact syndrome; where the brain swells rapidly, resulting in a serious brain injury,” said Barbara O’Connell, the ABI chief executive.
Forty-four per cent of GPA members questioned have sustained concussion between two and five times; 58 per cent continued to play with the research also showing men are three times more likely than women to acquire a brain injury.
“I know from both playing and coaching in my own day that there is always a reluctance from players to come off, and coaches to take them off the pitch, after taking a hit to the head,” said Dr Pat O’Neill, who guided Dublin to an All-Ireland in 1995.
“A rational decision doesn’t always follow; however the safety and welfare of the player must be put first. Concussion is not a life-threatening injury but it can cause both short and long-term problems when not managed effectively.”
A number of players are involved in the new awareness campaign, including Dublin midfielder Michael Dara Macauley, who has suffered concussion on a number of occasions playing for his club Ballyboden St Enda’s.
Macauley believes the decision on well-being should be taken out of the player’s hands.
“I don’t think it’s a major problem but I think it’s something that needs to be addressed when it does happen,” said Macauley. “It’s happened me three times now and there is that mentality sometimes that if a player’s going well, just leave him on the pitch. It’s far too dangerous, you have to take it seriously and give it time to recover.”
Former Dublin captain Paul Griffin is a brain injury physiotherapist, making him well placed to comment on the four Rs – report it, rest, rehab and return – that the campaign is endeavouring to seep into the consciousness of Gaelic games.
“It’s important to educate people on this issue,” said Griffin. “There is still a lot of misinformation and difficulty with people understanding the complexities of a head injury.
“Ex-rugby professionals, in particular, have come out like Bernard Jackson . Players are their own worst enemy in that regard. Careers are short, guys will rarely take themselves out of games. It does need the players around them and coaches to look after player welfare.”
Griffin, meanwhile, is back training with the Dublin panel and playing for Kilmacud Crokes after a two-season absence due to a recurring knee problem. “It’s been a bit up and down in terms of other issues I’ve had with the joint. I’m just keeping my head down playing football and monitoring it. It’s been good so far.”
WEEKEND GAA FIXTURES
All-Ireland SHC Phase II – Clare v Dublin, Cusack Park, 7pm, D Kirwan (Cork), live TV3; Cork v Offaly, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 7pm, M Wadding (Waterford).
Leinster MFC Semi-final – Westmeath v Meath, Mullingar, 7pm.
All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship – Clare v Galway, Cusack Park, Ennis, 5pm; Cork v Offaly, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 5pm; Kilkenny v Tipperary, Nowlan Park, 3.15pm.
Munster MFC Final – Kerry v Tipperary, Gaelic Grounds, 12pm, C Lane (Cork).
Munster SFC Final – Cork v Clare, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, 2pm, E Kinsella (Laois), live TV3.
Leinster MHC Final – Dublin v Wexford, Croke Park, 2pm.
Leinster SHC Final – Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, 4pm, J McGrath (Westmeath), live RTÉ.
Ulster MHC Final – Antrim v Down, Casement Park, 1.30pm, E Hasson (Derry).
Ulster SHC Final – Antrim v Derry, Casement Park, 3.30pm, T Carroll (Offaly).
All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship – Wexford v Dublin, Wexford Park, 2.30pm.
SFC Qualifiers Round Two
Saturday, July 14th
Antrim v Galway Casement Park, 3pm
Leitrim v Wicklow Carrick on Shannon, 6pm
Roscommon v Tyrone Dr Hyde Park, 2pm
Longford v Limerick Pearse Park, 7pm
Tipperary v Wexford Semple Stadium, 5pm
Sunday, July 15th
Westmeath v Kerry Cusack Park, 3pm
Cavan v Kildare Breffni Park, 3pm
Laois v Monaghan O’Moore Park, 3pm