The Gaelic Players’ Association will likely propose the introduction of a concussion sub rule at next year’s annual congress.
One of four motions to be considered at today’s AGM of the GPA, in Meath, is that the players’ group undertake a ‘further review of the GAA’s current concussion management guidelines’.
GPA chief executive, Paul Flynn, said that, out of this, there is a good chance that the GPA could run with a recommendation to congress that a concussion sub rule be introduced. The GPA has the power to put forward one motion to the annual GAA gathering and Flynn said there’s a strong possibility it will relate to concussion.
“Yeah, absolutely, it’s the most likely one,” said Flynn, who revealed he has suffered concussion five times in his own career.
“There’s a little bit of a difference between motions we bring to our AGM and motions that to go to congress, but that’s the most likely one.”
Back in 2015, a congress proposal to introduce a concussion sub rule was redirected by the GAA to the Medical, Scientific and Welfare committee, for their consideration.
The proposal, at the time, was, ‘The introduction of a temporary substitute to allow a player suspected of concussion to be removed from play on the instruction of the referee, tested for concussion, and only allowed to return to play following a negative result to the test’.
Donegal’s Dr Kevin Moran, part of the MSW committee, stated, in late 2015, that the group was against that specific proposal, arguing there is no sideline test that can definitively rule out concussion. Their conclusion was that any player with concussion symptoms must leave the field immediately and not return.
In late 2017, former Offaly hurler and medical doctor, Brendan Murphy, gave his support to the idea of a concussion sub in the GAA.
It remains to be seen how any GPA motion on the issue is framed, though Flynn is adamant they can bring positive change in the area.
“There’s an MSW meeting on Monday, which is the GAA’s equivalent of our Medical, Safety and Welfare committee. We have a paper going to them done by our Player Welfare and Safety committee,” said Flynn. “That’s a bit of detail in it. Most definitely, that could be a motion that we would look to bring to congress.”
Meanwhile, the other three motions for today’s GPA AGM relate to: formalising a centrally administered online expenses platform for inter-county players, developing closer ties with the WGPA, and the establishment of a group to provide greater competitive balance within the GAA.
Flynn said the idea of competitive balance comes from the AFL, who rolled it out in 2015. “There’s a lot to learn from it,” he said of the AFL model.
“Things that could come into it are budget control for squads, Championship structures, whereby people feel they have a structure they feel they can win. It’s multifaceted. The terms of reference will be defined. What we’re asking the AGM is for them to support us in lobbying the GAA to look at this area.”