Sunday 18 February 2018

Murphy lends support to concussion sub rule

Dr. Brendan Murphy, Tipperary Senior Hurling Team Doctor. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Dr. Brendan Murphy, Tipperary Senior Hurling Team Doctor. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Former Offaly hurler and medical doctor Brendan Murphy has given his backing to a concussion substitute, along the lines of the existing blood substitution, for Gaelic games.

Murphy, who has been the team doctor to Tipperary for the last three years, believes the implementation of such a substitution would be helpful in dealing with concussion and would help "take the pressure off".

Murphy was speaking at the launch of the second National Concussion Symposium brought by Bon Secours Health System and UPMC in association with the GAA, at which he will be a panellist.

A motion to the 2015 Congress in Cavan brought by Tyrone and Fermanagh, among others, calling for a concussion substitute rule was deferred to the GAA's Medical, Scientific and Welfare Committee who decided later that year not to recommend one.

Instead, an 'if in doubt, sit them out' policy was reinforced and that's something Murphy agrees with. He also feels education about the dangers remains a high priority.

"If the guys are educated, if the coaches and managers are educated, and they all know about and the players know about it, it makes it easier to take that player off in whatever game.

"If the player doesn't know anything about concussion, he's wondering why he is getting whipped off. Five or 10 years ago if you were to take a guy off because he was concussed in an All-Ireland final you'd be killed or murdered for it, whereas we are in a different place now."

Murphy says it should be no "big deal" to be wrong if a player is taken off and found not to be concussed.

"You are better off to be wrong in that sense," he said.

In advancing a case for a concussion sub, Murphy cited an incident in Tipperary's opening league match last February when corner-back Donagh Maher was taken off with a suspected concussion, leaving the then All-Ireland champions with 14 men as all other substitutes had been used.

"Thankfully we were winning well," he recalled. "That's the instance maybe where you have come to an All-Ireland final, you have used your five subs by the 65th minute of the game then the pressure would be on to get a guy off and you're leaving a team with 14 men."

Irish Independent

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