Tuesday 17 October 2017

Injuries on the GAA field 'like road collisions'

Dr Kevin Moran, Donegal’s team doctor, said that intercounty footballers are getting bigger and stronger and, as a result, the GAA is now seeing collision injuries that you would associate with rugby. Stock photo: Sportsfile
Dr Kevin Moran, Donegal’s team doctor, said that intercounty footballers are getting bigger and stronger and, as a result, the GAA is now seeing collision injuries that you would associate with rugby. Stock photo: Sportsfile

Harry Walsh

Injuries sustained in high-impact collisions on the GAA field can be similar to those sustained in a road traffic accident, a leading surgeon has warned.

Dr Kevin Moran, Donegal's team doctor, said that intercounty footballers are getting bigger and stronger and, as a result, the GAA is now seeing collision injuries that you would associate with rugby.

The consultant surgeon is concussion lead on the GAA's Medical, Scientific and Welfare (MSW) committee.

Dr Moran noted that 95pc of the cases of concussion and other serious injury on the sports field occur when there isn't a doctor present.

He said that it was also necessary to be aware that other collision injuries, if undetected, can have equally catastrophic results - like chest and abdominal injuries.

He mentioned injuries picked up by two marquee Donegal players - All-Ireland winning captain Michael Murphy and full back Neil McGee.

Paul Durcan collided with McGee in mid-air just before half-time during the All-Ireland quarter final against Mayo in 2015.

Bruising

Dr Moran examined McGee in the dressing room at half-time.

He had extensive bruising to the rib cage and chest wall and was in significant pain, but as his chest was clear and he was adamant that he wanted to return to play, he agreed to his request.

"I must say at this point that Neil is one of the hardest men in football, both physically and psychologically, and he has an incredible pain barrier - but as soon as he sprinted for the first ball he became breathless and that concerned me as I couldn't exclude a collapsed lung so I took him off immediately," he told the 'Donegal News'.

During last year's All-Ireland quarter final against Dublin in Croke Park, team captain, Michael Murphy, was blind-sided by his team-mate Kieran Gillespie, resulting in an impact to his chest wall and left flank.

"When I examined him my concern was that he had sustained an injury to an abdominal organ, as his abdominal muscles were in spasm," Dr Moran said.

I was afforded a significant amount of time to examine him because everyone thought that I was assessing Michael for concussion.

"My main concern though was that he had either a kidney or spleen injury . . ."

He said he had encountered such injuries to the kidney or spleen "over the past 25 years not infrequently, unfortunately, because of the road carnage in Donegal".

"Eventually, I was happy that Michael was okay and that there was no deep cavity injury to his chest," Dr Moran said.

He stressed that the GAA is very proactive and, at all times, is only interested in the welfare of the player.

Irish Independent

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