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Friday 28 April 2017

'Players not taking concussion seriously' for fear of being 'soft'

Heavy impacts can break “the blood-brain barrier” and cause permanent physical and psychological damage, according to early research (Stock picture)
Heavy impacts can break “the blood-brain barrier” and cause permanent physical and psychological damage, according to early research (Stock picture)

Chai Brady

Many players would not take a head injury seriously for fear of being branded "soft," hurler Séamus Callanan has warned.

The Tipperary full-forward said that he has experienced a concussion, and believes all players need to be educated about the dangers.

But he said: "I'd say it's there in every sport really, you're nearly looked upon as soft if you go off without anything that's physically broke or physically cut."

He added: "I was very lucky that the GAA at county level has gone professional pretty much, we have a doctor at every training session and every game. When I go back to my club, we have nothing.

"This could be happening every night," he said.

Former Ireland Rugby player Keith Woods also said the "macho" element in rugby is diminishing.

"I'm struggling a little bit watching rugby when there's two or three or four guys in an international rugby game going off with a concussion or an interpretation of concussion.

"It can't be acceptable," he said.

Mr Woods said the tackling could now be too high, saying that when he played the tackles were lower.

Sports veterans, current players and researchers discussed the dangers of concussion on the pitch and in the ring at a conference yesterday in Dublin.

One of the main problems addressed was the need to recognise when somebody is concussed, as they can do permanent damage if they stay on the field.

Trinity College and St James's Hospital have teamed up to tackle policy relating to concussions caused in sport.

Heavy impacts can break "the blood-brain barrier" and cause permanent physical and psychological damage, according to early research.

Dr Colin Doherty is one of the lead researchers, he said Ireland has one of the highest participation rates in sport, with about 400,000 GAA players, 450,000 playing soccer and 180,000 playing rugby.

He said this "gives us a strong impetus, at a public health level, to develop guidelines which we can all sign up to".

The damage done to the brain after heavy collisions in sport may be reversed but players need to know when to let the brain heal.

One of the working theories of the research is that repeated concussions break down the blood brain barrier, which is the membrane that separates circulating blood from brain fluid.

Irish Independent

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