Eoin Cadogan: 'You think that work and sport are hugely important, and then you’re worried about saying hello to your parents'

Cork dual player Eoin Cadogan has reiterated the message to “follow the advice of medical professionals” to get through the coronavirus pandemic, writes Michael Moynihan

Eoin Cadogan:“It’s insane when you think of it, because sport is such a big part of people’s everyday lives you don’t know how you’d handle having no sport. What do people talk about?
Eoin Cadogan:“It’s insane when you think of it, because sport is such a big part of people’s everyday lives you don’t know how you’d handle having no sport. What do people talk about?

The Douglas clubman was one of the members of the GPA and WGPA appearing on social media lately to encourage people to follow the HSE’s guidelines.

“Up to Tuesday night I don’t know if some people had a handle on the severity of what’s ahead,” said Cadogan.

“I think the Taoiseach’s speech the other night probably hit people hard, and hopefully conveyed the message that this thing has barely started, really.

“The essence of the message I and the others gave is to follow the advice of medical professionals to give everybody the best chance of getting through this.

"The script’s been completely torn up."

You think that work and sport are hugely important, and then you’re worried about saying hello to your parents or grandparents, or other family members - No one's ever experienced anything like this

“If we’re on the same track as Italy 15,000 people might have it by the end of the month.”

Cadogan agreed that though absolutely necessary, the disappearance of sport almost overnight has left a gap for many people.

“It’s so important to us, it’s so strange not to have sport around — no matter what your preference is, Gaelic games, soccer, rugby, mixed martial arts, whatever you like.

“It’s insane when you think of it, because sport is such a big part of people’s everyday lives you don’t know how you’d handle having no sport at all. What do people talk about?

“But I think what’s happening now with people is that they realise they need to park what seemed to be important but wasn’t, really.

“For the last few years everything has been a million miles an hour — we were all rushing and racing, so much stuff to do in the day, and now all of that has been taken away from us.

“The simplest thing in the world, just shaking hands, is something that we all crave now.

“If you think about a game, the simple act of shaking hands with your opponent beforehand — gone, never mind just pitting yourself against another player.”

Cadogan, a qualified strength and conditioning coach, stressed the importance of maintaining mental and physical health in the current circumstances. 

“Normally at this time of the year you’re talking about the switch to the club championships, probably, and who to look out for, who’s going well.

“That’s so irrelevant now, so far down the pecking order, that it’s not even funny.

What I’ve realised is that while I love playing hurling and Gaelic football, the mental health aspect of competing and being physically active is a huge part of what I enjoy

"I’m sure it’s the same for hundreds, thousands of other people.

“I’ve been doing some FaceTime sessions with clients, trying to keep them on track even if they’re stuck at home, and what’s interesting is the number of people saying they’ve gotten into bad habits — sitting down at the computer for hours upon hours, their backs are at them, falling into bad habits on social media.

“That last one is very important, because so much of what you’re seeing on your phone from social media feeds is negative. 

"No matter how positive you try to be, there’ll always be someone coming back with negativity.

“You can combat those with good habits, mental and physical — from standing during the day or working your computer on a countertop rather than a desk to getting outside and being physically active.

“Obviously we can’t congregate in big numbers, but you can still get to a beach or a park — you can go to a GAA pitch and puck a ball over the bar and walk in to collect it every time you do.

“There’s no rush on you because everything has slowed down. I think when we come out the right side of this people are going to appreciate each other’s company much more.”

In the meantime Cadogan pointed to the need to stay active: “You should still structure your day and avoid those bad habits. Try not to lie in but get up the same time you normally would, and eat your breakfast, your lunch, dinner, all of those at the usual times.

“There are bigger things going on than sport, but that doesn’t mean we should forget our physical health either. 

"Leo Varadkar was right the other evening — put away the phone, stop scrolling through the negativity and instead go out and take some exercise.”

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