Ok so I haven’t done an opinion piece of these in a while, but here it goes. Pre-season debate allows GAA supporters, players; county boards etc discuss all the things in the GAA that went wrong the previous year. GAA Issues are highlighted, discussed and argued about but nothing much happens in the long run.
For instance, this blog is based on the proposed “concussion rule” that once again is in the GAA football spotlight. Last year Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley made the call in October to add the substitute rule to something similar like the blood substitute rule. This week Mayo footballer Aidan O’Shea has refreshed calls for a concussion substitute after he experienced concussion in Mayo’s semi-final vs Kerry last summer, a game which he barely remembers. Following in his footsteps Dr Tom Foley, a member of the GAA’s Medical, Scientific and Welfare committee and Carlow team doctor for the past 25 years also continued to push pressure for the rule to be enforced.
In 2013 The GAA’s medical, scientific and welfare committee (MSW) updated its safety measures for concussion but at the time they felt no need for the rule to be implemented. The level of concussion rate in 2014 year was 0.8 in football while hurling is 0.5 at inter-county level. In the case that a player does becomeconcussed a team has a decision to allow the player to remain on the pitch or reduce themselves to 14 men.
The guidelines stress that any player suspected of having concussion should be removed from the field of play immediately and should not return. They add that a team doctor must advise a manager of any suspicion of concussion, and that the player cannot then continue.
The final decision comes down to the team doctor.
Thing is, GAA has gone modern. Players spending all winter in the gym bulking, becoming bigger and stronger meaning harder hits on the pitch. To me, this rule is bound to come into play sooner rather than later and probably after a dangerous injury rather than bringing it in to prevent it happening. The sooner the better I say.