No cruciate curse, says Falvey

One of Ireland’s top sports medics says the perception of cruciate injuries being rampant in the GAA is exaggerated because “a lot of the victims are high-profile and it’s in the media eye.”

Dr Éanna Falvey of the Sports Surgery Clinic also says the GAA would benefit from a database of injuries to give an exact figure for various medical problems,

Falvey, who is also the Ireland rugby team doctor, responded to suggestions there seemed to be a high number of cruciate victims in football and hurling by stating: “No, it’s just that a lot of the victims are high-profile and it’s in the media eye.

“If you go to any GAA club in Ireland, in a squad of 40 you’ll have three or four – at least – who’ve had cruciate ruptures repaired.

“The big sports for cruciate injury are those with cutting and twisting – soccer, Gaelic football, Aussie Rules.

“It’s different in American football, for instance, because cruciate injuries there come about when someone runs in at 50 miles an hour to hit your knee with his helmet.

Falvey says accurate and up-to-date injury records would help the GAA.

“It’s difficult to gauge the amount of cruciate injuries in an amateur sport where you don’t have a central database of records.

“In Australian Rules they have very good injury records going back 15 years and we extrapolate our injury rates from those, the sport and injury risk factors are very similar.”

Falvey also revealed the likelihood of women tearing their cruciate ligaments playing sport — as opposed to men, is far higher.

“Women are six times more likely than men to tear the cruciate ligament during field sport, which doesn’t get any headlines.

“Women’s predisposition is thought to be largely due to neuromuscular control — how the stabilising muscles work.”


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