'Concussion seen as badge of honour', says Dubs star Rory O'Carroll
Due to a misplaced sense of masculinity in GAA and rugby some players view getting a concussion as a "badge of honour", according to Dublin All-Ireland winner Rory O'Carroll.
The All-Star footballer was speaking at a discussion on brain injury in sport. The event also saw the launch of a new mobile phone app that will help players, coaches and doctors recognise and respond to concussion.
O'Carroll was a high- profile victim of concussion when he took a knock in the 2013 All-Ireland final win over Mayo.
The Kilmacud Crokes defender, who played on despite the injury, said the message for players to look after their welfare needs to get through more clearly.
"The GAA, and I suppose rugby as well, is seen often as the bastion of masculinity within Ireland, and when you play with a head injury or whether you're bleeding and you've got to wrap a bandage around your head, you're seen as more of a man," he said.
"The concussion or the blood injury is seen as a badge of honour, so it's about changing that culture to say 'Use your head in these decisions'.
"It isn't a badge of honour, it's a health issue which could affect your life into the future and it's important to recognise this."
O'Carroll said there had been some examples recently that suggest the message is getting through, but he said more needs to be done to hammer it home to younger athletes.
Fellow All-Ireland winner Michael Dara MacAuley also spoke of his experience of being concussed during a training session, and told of his shock when he was told he was going on holidays the following day.
"It was the first I'd heard of it," he joked.
Also speaking at the launch of the app, developed by a team of medical and sports experts for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII), was Prof John Ryan.
He said the pressure once put on team doctors to keep players on the field despite being injured "no longer exists".