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
“Rugby is trivialising concussion,” Dr Barry O’Driscoll, former Irish international who resigned from the IRB medical committee in protest, told The Scotsman earlier this year.
“The same player who 18 months ago was given a minimum of seven days recovery time is now given five minutes. There is no test that you can do in five minutes that will show that a player is not concussed.”
Clare hurler John Conlon recently sustained a head trauma five minutes into the Munster semi-final against Cork. It became apparent he was concussed, approximately 15 minutes later, when he asked which way he was playing.
“Concussion can be a difficult injury to diagnose during a match,” continued Moffatt, the Mayo footballers team doctor. “Symptoms and signs can be vague and players may not appreciate balance co-ordination or other subtle symptoms of concussion.
“In the bigger games, like an All-Ireland final, it is difficult to hear and assess on the field of play so it’s a big call to make and having a good knowledge of the symptoms of concussion is essential.”
According to the GAA’s injury data base only 0.78 percent of 1,679 injuries recorded over the last eight years were due to concussion.
“It is fair enough to say that the level of fitness, conditioning and the pace of the game has increased. Put all those ingredients in together and obviously collisions are going to increase.
“Interestingly concussion can result from transmitted forces and does not always require a direct blow to the head, a shoulder charge and heavy fall to the ground may cause a concussion . . .” added Moffatt.
GAA director of player welfare Fergal McGill said “If you are asking if we have a massive problem with concussion the answer is absolutely no. If you are asking if I’m worried that it is something that could be on the increase the answer is yes.”
The joint GPA/ABI education campaign is ongoing with a particular focus on the club scene as medical practitioners may not always be present.
Chris Nowinski, a former American footballer and wrestler turned documentary maker on concussion, said of Brian O’Driscoll’s return to play against France earlier this year: “If it happened in the States there would be an outcry. It’s like you giving a drunk the keys to his car because he tells you he’s fine.”