independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Doctors threaten to ignore new rules

TEAM doctors are going to escalate their opposition to the GAA's new sideline regulations, despite Paraic Duffy's insistence yesterday that they are here to stay.

A meeting of the Gaelic Games Doctors Association (GGDA), which includes some of the most prominent medics in the sport, has decided to formally seek an urgent meeting with director general Duffy and GAA president Liam O'Neill on the matter which has left team medics up in arms.

If Croke Park does not row back on the issue the GGDA is set to instruct its members to just blatantly ignore them and sit on the sideline alongside their team physios, which has been prohibited by the new regulations.

The Irish Independent understands that last Saturday's GGDA meeting, attended by close to 25 inter-county team doctors, also discussed the nuclear option of withdrawing their services completely but decided to first try to make progress through a consultative process.

But they are ready to instruct their members to ignore the new sideline restrictions, which they argue stops them from doing their job properly and could endanger players' safety.

The GAA, in a disciplinary clampdown, has reduced the numbers of back-room team members allowed pitchside this season from 12 to five, restricting teams to a manager, a selector, one medic and two water/hurley carriers.

Most teams are operating with their physiotherapist along the sideline, but Kildare's team doctor Dr Danny Mulvihill has already openly defied the new rule by sitting alongside their physio for both of their NFL games to date.

And unless the GAA can find a compromise now with their own medical experts, others look set to follow him and blatantly flout the rule which has so infuriated them.

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