Sunday 25 February 2018

Former GAA footballer Keith Barr settles action over accident

Tim Healy

FORMER Gaelic footballer Keith Barr has settled a High Court action in which he claimed he suffers ongoing serious back pain problems from an injury in a traffic accident three years ago.

On the second day of his case against a driver who crashed into the back of his car while it was stopped at traffic lights, Liam Reidy SC, for Mr Barr, told the court the matter had been settled and could be struck out.

Earlier Mr Barr, an All-Ireland medal winner with Dublin in 1995 and twice-picked All-Star, told the court he worried about his future health and employment because of the lasting effects of the back injury.

"I am worried about the future and the condition I will be in in 12 months time and even in five years time, " he said. The accident had also put him and his family under physical, mental and financial strain, he said.

Mr Barr, who works as a litigation manager with Liberty Insurance, sued Eric Gray arising out of the accident at Navan Road, Dublin, on July 22, 2009.

The court heard the vehicle driven by Mr Gray, of Manor Street, Dublin, hit the rear of Mr Barr's car, then struck another car before rebounding and hitting Mr Barr's car again.

The case was before the court for assessment only.

The court heard Mr Barr, a married father of three, may need a serious operation in the future as a result of his injury to prevent him ending up as a paraplegic. Such operations are required on an emergency basis if certain symptoms are detected, his counsel Mr Reidy said.

So far, he did not require such an operation but he faces the worry and there was a "real risk" that he may need it, counsel said.

In evidence, Mr Barr said he had already gone operations for his back since the accident and he was not anxious to have more because he did not consider operations to be good for him, especially as he was a young man with young school going children.

He believed in getting on with life but he accepted that he was have ongoing pain in his back. "That is the reality of my life," he said.

He was worried about whether he can continue in his job because it involves a great deal of travelling around the country. The ongoing pain he suffers requires regular pain-killing medication as well as injections to his back.

He did not want to give up his job or his extra-curricular actitivites such as golf and training children in sport despite his ongoing pain, but did find it affects all his activities.

He has a high pain threshold, wants to get on with his life and until "the day someone puts me in the ground" he would continue to do so, he said.

Under cross-examination from Paul Burns SC, for Mr Gray, Mr Barr disagreed that he had problems prior to the accident caused by two serious injuries - a dislocated shoulder and broken jaw - sustained during his senior inter-county playing career from 1988 to 1999.

He said he never had any pre-existing back problems before the accident and while his shoulder would never be 100 per cent again because it was dislocated a number of times while he was a footballer, it did not cause him problems before the accident.

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