Sunday 16 June 2019

'I was reckless' - Sean Cavanagh fears the long term effects of the concussions he's suffered

Seán Cavanagh
Seán Cavanagh
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Tyrone star Sean Cavanagh has admitted he fears the effects of suffering 3-4 concussions a season throughout his career.

The 34-year-old suffered, what he described as, the worst concussion of his career during a club game a few months ago.

Cavanagh, who has called for greater sanctions against players who recklessly cause injuries, has revealed the symptoms he suffered in the weeks after his recent head knock and fears for what the future could hold.

Effects of repeated concussions later in life include mental deterioration, leading to dementia, depression, loss of balance or memory, mood swings and more.

"I feel fine now. I have to admit - I hold my hands up - I was really reckless throughout the whole course of my career in relation to concussion," he told Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One.

"It would have been three or four a year, and I would have become very good at getting back and playing quite quickly, more or less to my detriment.

"I took a really big hit in a club game. I was player-manager and I decided to try and beat the system again, but this time I more or less lost the ability to walk and was carried to the sideline.

"Even still, in that state I wanted to play on. I refused to be stretchered off. I refused to be taken immediately to hospital.

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"Now, within 10 or 15 minutes it became apparent that I urgently required to go to hospital and that really was symptomatic of the dangers of concussion.

"That was the worst one, the more recent one I took.

"I was sitting in work a few weeks later. I was feeling nausea. I was still feeling sick. My sleeping wasn't right.

"My balance wasn't right, and that really hit home to me the dangers of concussion.

"It could have been really bad for me, and still in that moment I wanted to play on and that was harm I was willing to put my body through for GAA.

"In a world where strength and conditioning is becoming a huge part of GAA, these things are happening more and more frequently."

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