Chin braced for showdown with ‘most impressive’ Kilkenny

Wexford star promotes new pilot programme on concussion baseline testing

You ask Lee Chin if he's ever suffered a concussion and the response from the Wexford joint-captain is an immediate and firm "no". Although there was this one time.

It turns out Chin was playing for the county’s U-21 football team, against Laois, when he smashed headfirst into a team-mate.

Chin needed stitches around his eye afterwards and the other player was left with a gash on his cheekbone.

“Even to this day, I can’t remember a whole lot of the actual game,” said Chin, who concedes upon reflection that he probably did suffer a concussion after all.


It’s a perfect example of the grey area that has existed around concussion in sport for decades, leaving players at risk, though things are finally changing.

Provision for a concussion substitute was introduced earlier this year into Gaelic games while the GAA and GPA, in association with UPMC healthcare, are now introducing a pilot programme on concussion baseline testing, with the goal of rapidly diagnosing and treating concussions in players.

The initiative starts this week and will run until the end of the 2022 championships with inter-county players from nine different counties – Wexford, Kilkenny, Galway, Mayo, Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Sligo and Waterford – taking part.

“There are heavy tackles in sport, particularly in our game of hurling,” said powerful Chin. “There are big tackles, big hits and there sometimes can be head collisions. I think it is something that people need to be conscious of.

“One or two Wexford guys got concussed throughout the national league and got concussed in training, and even for a couple of days after [displayed symptoms]. We take it very seriously, they wouldn’t be let train for a number of days or even a week or two after training.

“Because I haven’t suffered or experienced a concussion myself recently, it’s hard to relate to how it feels. But I know from talking to guys even a couple of days afterwards, they’re still a bit foggy about it. They haven’t just got their feet under them, for want of a better phrase. This is just one thing that we really need to be more conscious of.”

Chin was in action at the weekend, sniping 1-2 in Wexford's Leinster quarter-final defeat of Laois to add to the 2-40 he tallied during the league. He will undoubtedly be a marked man when Wexford travel to Portlaoise on Saturday to face Kilkenny in the last four.

“Kilkenny were, in my opinion, the most impressive team throughout the league,” said Chin. “They had some great performances, looked very strong. You can tell with the way they’re playing at the moment that there’s a lot of freedom and a lot of confidence to their game. Look, they didn’t finish top of our league for no reason. They put in some really good performances. It’s going to be a very, very good test.”


Inevitably, Kilkenny will have a couple of plans for dealing with Chin, depending on where he starts. Versatile enough to be a former Wexford football and soccer player, he has been deployed at full-forward this year.

"I am not your usual inside forward I suppose," shrugged Chin. "But it's not somewhere you'd see me playing most days. It's something Davy Fitzgerald wanted to try and I am all for it when he is looking to experiment."

If nothing else, it will have Brian Cody wondering all week, particularly in light of Clare's decision to use Tony Kelly closer to goal against Waterford.

“I don’t think it’s about other teams at all, it’s purely just about ourselves and maybe Davy is trying to add a different point of attack,” said Chin.

Calum Lyons was the Waterford player detailed to man mark Kelly at the weekend, to limited success as Clare secured a Munster championship win.

Lyons joined Chin at yesterday's concussion event and cut a downbeat figure. Were there any positives at all from the four-point loss, described by John Mullane as a "four-point hammering"?

“You saw the players coming on from the bench that made a huge difference and [we] made a bit of a surge at the end,” noted Lyons, referencing their final quarter revival and 0-4 return from the bench. “I suppose it was probably just too little, too late at that stage.”

An All-Star nominee last season, Lyons maintained the Déise have a squad capable of bouncing back this summer with the qualifiers still to come.

“We’re an extremely young team, if you break it down you’ll see a lot of the players are still developing, me included,” he said.

“I still have a lot of work to do. So I think the future is still bright, regardless of what went on on Sunday. I think for Waterford hurling it would be a silly thing to rule us out in the coming years. We’re a very young team and there’s still a lot of developing to be done.”