Friday 9 December 2016

Dublin star admits: 'If I got another concussion, I'd consider retirement'

Published 15/05/2015 | 02:30

Dublin footballer Rory O’Carroll and hurler Paul Ryan were joined by Scoil Áine pupils Ellie McGrath, Roísín Mythen and Lucy Harrington for yesterday’s launch of the AIG/JF Dunne Insurance Pupil Protector Plan
Dublin footballer Rory O’Carroll and hurler Paul Ryan were joined by Scoil Áine pupils Ellie McGrath, Roísín Mythen and Lucy Harrington for yesterday’s launch of the AIG/JF Dunne Insurance Pupil Protector Plan

It's an issue that won't go away and since Rory O'Carroll suffered concussion in 2013, he has felt compelled to highlight awareness surrounding head injuries.

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The Dublin defender was left on the pitch for the final 16 minutes of the All-Ireland final despite looking visibly dazed after colliding with Mayo's Enda Varley.

O'Carroll is an ambassador for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, and earlier this year he wrote a letter to a national newspaper questioning the IRFU's concussion guidelines.

Unlike plenty of his colleagues, the 25-year-old has never been afraid to express himself and he admits that another concussion could persuade him to call time on his career.

"Concussion can happen in anything but you have to look at where is it most likely to happen," O'Carroll says.

"I think it's far more likely to happen in rugby rather than GAA. I wouldn't be hugely concerned (about GAA).

Rory O'Carroll and Jonny Cooper, Dublin, vie for possession with Donal Kingston, Laois
Rory O'Carroll and Jonny Cooper, Dublin, vie for possession with Donal Kingston, Laois

"Having said that, I have experienced concussion before.

"You can have better access to medical care, you can have better monitoring and all different technologies and ways to assess, but you can't treat a brain in the same way that you treat a hamstring. You can't give deep tissue massage to a brain.

"I suppose the experts in Acquired Brain Injury Ireland would say three times is a knockout.

"If I was to receive another serious concussion, I would very seriously consider whether to continuing playing.

"On average ten years is a good career. Out of your life that could be an eighth. I would rather consider my future life."

O'Carroll is confident that another player wouldn't be left on the pitch like he was two years ago as the GAA look to heighten awareness surrounding the issue.

A motion has been put to Congress that should a player receive a serious blow to the head, he shall be instructed to leave the pitch immediately by the referee.

"I believe that wouldn't happen again. There are proposals being brought to Congress. But with all these things, they take a lot of time," the two time All-Ireland winner says.

"I think it's getting there. If that proposal was passed it would copper-fasten it a bit more. It's never going to be perfect. It's about striving to get the best structures possible.

Doubt

O'Carroll is still recovering from a torn hamstring suffered in the league final victory over Cork last month and is "a week or so" from full fitness, which makes him a doubt for Dublin's championship opener against either Offaly or Longford.

The Kilmacud Crokes clubman has had a bad run of luck with hamstring injuries but explains that he only suffered his first ever one playing in a club game last October.

However, he is prepared to stay patient in order to get his body right ahead of another busy summer.

"It's still only ten days before championship, which isn't ideal because I want to give myself the best chance of being selected," he says.

"For the last ball I ran for, it went. It's a bit frustrating as I injured my left one against Monaghan and my right one against Cork.

"Long term I want to get my hamstrings right rather than rushing it."

Irish Independent

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