herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

GPA: concussions going under radar

Armagh player Jarly Óg Burns
Armagh player Jarly Óg Burns

THE GPA have called for Croke Park to explore the possibility of bringing in an expanded 'blood-sub' provision to allow a player that has suffered a suspected concussion to be properly diagnosed.

The player's body also insist they are "concerned that the true number of concussions are potentially under-reported every year."

The issue has come into sharp focus in recent weeks after it was reported, erroneously, that Armagh player Jarly Óg Burns, had suffered a second head injury in a week during his team's Ulster semi-final and replay with Cavan.

Burns had been taken off in extra-time in the drawn game and was taken to hospital after the replay. Although former Armagh player Oisín McConville revealed he had merely suffered "exhaustion and dehydration," and was discharged shortly after admittance.

More recently, former Galway footballer Cormac Bane also publicly revealed how he was forced to step away from club football due to repeated blows to the head while Rory O'Carroll said in 2015 he would consider quitting inter-county football if he had another "serious" concussion.

The GAA's official protocol states: "Players must receive written medical clearance and present it to the person in charge of the team before returning to full contact training," after an instance of concussion.

However, the GPA spokesperson told the Herald: "Based on the latest international consensus, the GPA believes players suspected of having concussion should be removed from the field of play for medical staff to make a thorough assessment of suspicion and possible diagnosis.

"This may require a move to a temporary substitute, similar to the blood-sub rule, but would allow sufficient time and a suitable environment to make a more informed decision on whether a concussion is suspected.

"While we acknowledge the attritional and physical nature of our games, we are also concerned that the true number of concussions in football and hurling are potentially under-reported each year.

"This is reflected in the low figures on the injury-surveillance database.

"Many suspected concussions are being triaged on-field with a 50-to-60-second assessment, which we believe is insufficient to exclude a concussion."

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