Helmet sets new standards in safety

THE prospect of helmets becoming compulsory at senior level in hurling took an important step forward yesterday with the unveiling of the new 2005 Mycro CE certified helmet at Croke Park.

The wearing of standardised head and face protection is already mandatory at minor level since Congress last year and a motion to extend that to the U-21 will be debated at Congress this weekend.

The new Mycro model has been welcomed by the GAA's medical committee chair, Dr Con Murphy who said that the new and improved design would finally allow the association to press for the blanket regulation to be applied in the years to come.

"When I got the job (as chairman), one of the things we looked at was whether or not helmets should be made compulsory.

"To me, it is an obvious step to bring it in on a compulsory level (at all grades) to the GAA, but it made practical sense that we introduce it first at U-18 level.

"We haven't pushed it at senior level yet because we hadn't got the proper product.

"But today I'm happy to recommend the Mycro helmet which complies with all the required standards," he said.

The need for helmets to become an accepted part of kit for hurlers has long been evident.

A recent survey in Cork over a 12-month period found that 36% of injuries picked up on the hurling field were to the head or face.

In the same period alone, 798 players were treated for hurling related injuries in Cork's three main A&E wards.

"From the point of view of a parent with three children who play the sport, it is fantastic to see this happening and it is worth noting that the safest contact sport in Ireland is hurling with the proper gear. It is safer that football, rugby or soccer," said Dr Murphy.

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