“With concussion it’s a very hard injury I think because it’s something that people can’t physically see. If I don’t have a cast on my leg or if I’m not on crutches people say ‘well what’s wrong with him? Why can’t he play?’” said the All- Ireland winner yesterday.
He was speaking at the launch of a campaign called Concussion Aware by the acquired brain injury charity, Headway.
“If you’re there in the crowd and you’re able to talk and smile and be normal with people, a lot of people will think well there’s actually nothing wrong with this person, because the understanding mightn’t be there.
“That’s why we have to educate people going forward, that concussion is something that is very serious and people at the grassroots need to be educated on it,” he explained.
Headway has partnered with GAA, soccer and rugby player unions for the campaign. CEO of the Irish Rugby Union Players’ Association (IRUPA), Omar Hassanein, also spoke at the event yesterday.
“We’ve had some tragic cases which it’s awful to speak about, where we have young teenagers who’ve died from second impact syndrome because the signs and symptoms were not recognised on first impact — to me that’s just an awful tragedy,” he said.
Second impact syndrome occurs as a result of a second concussion received after an initial concussion has not been given the appropriate time to heal.
As part of the campaign, Headway commissioned a study, that showed a severe lack of awareness and understanding around concussion.
Only one in 10 people surveyed knew what second impact syndrome was.
Other findings included the belief that a player needs to fall unconscious in order for an injury to be considered a concussion.
Some, 75% of those surveyed believed this to be the case, even though a player does not have to be knocked unconscious to have received a concussion.
Furthermore, 80% surveyed were unaware that a concussion can be sustained by just a bang to the body, as opposed to the head only.
Dublin footballer Deirdre Murphy urged people to be proactive about concussions: “Sometimes you only hear about organisations like Headway when things get very serious. Whereas things like concussion if they’re managed right, if you’re proactive about it, you can kind of manage that.”
Also speaking yesterday was Dundalk footballer Sean Gannon: “In an ideal world, when you’re in the middle of a game and you’re caught up in it, obviously if someone is having a great game you’d like them to stay on but I think there has to be a realisation that we are people and if there is any sort of health issue or any sign of a concussion or head injury the right thing has to be done.”
The tagline for the campaign is “if in doubt sit it out”.
Headway has teamed up with LifeStyle Sports, who are selling multicoloured bootlaces for €3. All proceeds from the purchase will go to Headway.