Two Dublin players concussed in Sunday’s GAA football final proves that concussion is in fact a growing concern for our GAA players and coaches across the country.
The physical nature and increasing speed at which the game is played has resulted in a rise in the number of concussions being suffered by these players. An increase in education and awareness is crucial to ensure all players are removed from the pitch following a hit to the head no matter the severity of the injury.
Dublin’s Johnny Cooper was removed from play following his collision, however full back Rory O’ Carroll played on for the last 16 minutes (including four minutes of extra time) while concussed; putting him at risk and more susceptible to a second hit and repeat concussion.
The identification of concussion can be a difficult challenge due to the fact that every concussion is unique and no two concussions present identically. A concussion is not always a knock-out and so it is vital for players and coaches to detect the signs and symptoms, ensuring no player continues to play while concussed.
Speaking about O’ Carroll’s concussion Acquired Brain Injury Ireland CEO Barbara O’ Connell said “Rory has been a great ambassador and advocate of concussion awareness and so in hindsight I know he will agree that he should have come off the pitch after he got concussed in yesterday’s All-Ireland final. However, we must also note that as a concussed player Rory’s decision making was impaired at the time, and so the decision to come off the pitch should have been taken out of his hands. The fear for Rory, or any player who plays on while concussed, is the risk of a second hit resulting in the catastrophe of second impact syndrome; which we saw 14 year old Ben Robinson die of earlier this month. Any player feeling dazed, or experiencing any concussion symptoms following a hit to the head, must be removed from play immediately and not return to play until symptom free”.
Research conducted by ABI Ireland and the GPA, in relation to hard hits and concussion within Gaelic games, showed 54% of those surveyed reported having endured a concussion during play. 44% admitted to having sustained a concussion between 2-5 times. When asked about concussion management and adhering to return-to-play guidelines, 58% admitted to continuing to play while concussed; with 42% of these noting they played on and didn’t remember the rest of the game.
Acquired Brain Injury Ireland will host a Brain Injury and Sport conference in the Aviva stadium on Friday 13th December 2013 to further highlight the increase in concussion in sport and education measurements that should be implemented. For more information see www.abiireland.ie