Boost for Donegal as Mark McHugh cleared of concussion
But player still battling quad muscle injury as he bids to be fit for Sunday’s showdown in Croke Park
Kilkenny’s Riche Power is carried from the pitch having suffered an accidental head injury during the clash against Cork at Semple Stadium last Sunday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Mark McHugh has been cleared of concussion and could return for Donegal’s All-Ireland quarter-final against Mayo in Croke Park this Sunday.
The burst ear drum, also sustained in a collision with Monaghan’s Stephen Gollogly during the Ulster final on July 21st, is also not inhibiting his progress.
However, the five centimetre tear of his quad muscle remains a concern. Donegal’s starting 15 will be confirmed this morning with footballer of the year Karl Lacey also expected to start.
“Mark’s definitely got a chance,” said Donegal selector Rory Gallagher. “The dead leg is the most concerning thing at the minute but he passed the seven to 10 days (concussion protocol – see panel).”
In the wake of a number of high-profile concussions in both football and hurling this summer, the GAA confirmed yesterday they will not adopt protocols currently used in professional rugby.
The IRB have come in for sustained criticism following the introduction of a “five minute rule” whereby a player can return to the field of play if he correctly answers questions after sustaining a head trauma (an example being Australia’s George Smith against the Lions).
“Given all the international research and guidelines regarding sports concussion I don’t see how they can have that five-minute rule in rugby,” said Dr Seán Moffatt, who wrote the GAA’s position statement on concussion.
“That’s not something the GAA advise. As SCAT [sport concussion assessment tool - version three] states, any athlete with suspected concussion should be removed from play and not return to the present game, be medically assessed, monitored for deterioration and not allowed back to play until they complete the return to play protocol and are medically passed fit.”
It’s recommended that each one of the six step recovery process is separated by 24 hours.
“Equally,” Moffatt continued, “during initial period of recovery from concussion players should not drive a vehicle, and may require cognitive rest from work and studies to allow symptoms to settle. This is especially important in our sports where players are amateurs and hold down jobs or are students where they have other demands and limited recovery time compared to professional players . . .”
After last year’s GPA/Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) survey, in which 150 inter-county players responded, it was revealed that 54 per cent have suffered concussion in their careers – 44 percent between two and five times.
Some 58 per cent continued to play with concussion while 42 percent of them didn’t remember the game when it happened nd 27 percent of them returned to play within a day.