Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox
I know that you’ve read about this subject before. Many of you will tend to switch off and move on to another subject.
However, the subject of concussion is privately rife around the GAA, with players not being educated enough to take the problem seriously.
The Association is not to blame in this regard.
They can only try as best they can to impose rules and regulations that hope to change the attitude.
One area where they can do more perhaps, is educating young players.
The GAA remains a strong willed body, with many very old fashioned members, who are wary of bringing any negative criticism to the association. Some objectors are not so old!
Sometimes, perhaps, even players are reluctant to admit that they’re suffering or feeling weak in any way, lest they have to miss a game.
It is not unusual for players to be judged on how committed they really are, so anyone perceived to be ‘minding themselves’ isn’t much appreciated. Figured to be a softie....
This is wrong.
The issue of concussion is now very serious. Every player is fitter than they’ve ever been before and crash impacts are the norm.
In a crash impact - that is when the two players colliding are coming in opposite directions - serious damage takes place in the brain, irrespective of where the body is hit.
Recently, retired inter county player Sean Cavanagh has come out to confess what he did, and how often he was able to fool those who came in to check him out.
The fact is, a qualified doctor should be available to diagnose and take responsibility for players welfare.
It is not feasible to have amateurs making a judgement on whether or not a player can continue. It’s unfair on everyone involved, but most especially the player who has suffered the injury.
The GAA as a countrywide body, must change in the way it provides for players.
An ambulance should always be on standby at a central location when matches are played. Always, without exception.
Of course that would cost something.
Can anyone seriously say that saving money is more important than the welfare of amateur players?