A couple of weeks ago I was writing here about the lack of data when it comes to gauging concussion in female sportspeople, and there was a reminder of the urgency of the issue during the week.
A study in Michigan which compared teen girls and boys playing soccer suggested that girls may face double the risk of concussion while playing the sport — and may also take up to two days more than their male equivalents to recover.
Another finding from the same study suggested girls were one and a half times less likely to be substituted than boys having sustained a suspected concussion.
That data gap is enough in itself to underline the importance of more research into the perils of concussion, but it also points up the importance of acknowledging that basic difference in male and female physiology when it comes to sport.
Understanding this difference will become more and more important as female participation in sport grows: if the only lesson learned is that women are not slightly smaller men when it comes to injuries, fitness and training, then call it a start at least.
When news broke during the week that Shane Lowry was to back Offaly GAA, there was a curious duality to the reaction.
Most people your columnist is acquainted with went with a variation on the theme of, ‘well, fair dues to him for putting his money where his mouth is’. A lot of the same people then moved to a variation on ‘where is the person doing the same for my county?’ (Smug throat-clearing from Limerick will not be acknowledged.)
I don’t cover golf but I’m well aware of Lowry’s standing in that sport, and his genuine love for the GAA — unsurprising, given his pedigree. As a model for other counties, though, is this approach sustainable? Find a sports hero and lasso them with an appeal to the heartstrings, and thence to the purse-strings?
This could lead to an explosion in amateur genealogy if nothing else, with all sorts of connections to Ireland, from the true to the tenuous, being teased out in the coming months.
Kudos to Ross Carr of Down being quick out of the blocks on social media, nudging Rory McIlroy with his fellow golf pro’s example. Going back the years you’d do well to beat the legendary PD Mehigan for exploiting celebrity roots.
In the twenties Mehigan once secured an exclusive on-air interview with then-heavyweight champion of the world Gene Tunney by playing on the reticent boxer’s knowledge of his roots. Tunney didn’t show any interest in talking to 2RN, RTÉ’s predecessor, until he was told that every household in Cork and Mayo — where his family originated — would be listening. After that he wouldn’t shut up.
If only his equivalent were as easy to find today, eh?
Is it too soon to read about the pandemic? This is a question that’s harder to answer than first appears. Our daily diet across all media has been non-stop corona for months, which may have slaked the thirst for more in the immediate future.
There may be a couple of exceptions to this rule based on quality alone. Lawrence Wright coming book expands his New Yorker megastory, which I’ve mentioned before. Already with us, almost, is Michael Lewis’s The Premonition: A Pandemic Story. Lewis’s immense gifts — the fluent storytelling, the guiding hand through complex subjects — make this a can’t-miss.