On Anthony Daly’s GAA podcast this week, former Limerick player and manager TJ Ryan — now Bord na nÓg chairman at his club Garryspillane — voiced the concerns of under-pressure club delegates who’ve been studying the GAA’s guidelines document for ‘safe return to Gaelic games’.
“The health questionnaires and temperature checks… I read the 15-page document and it’s a little bit like yourself, Dalo... it’s complicated.”
A bit of Garryspillane magic pic.twitter.com/MJShgBVP5V— Larry Ryan (@RyanLarry) June 11, 2020
However, an Irish-built app aims to simplify matters and take some of the pain away for club volunteers in all sports as they come out of lockdown.
The SURPASSPORT team management app was devised by scientist and software engineer, Adrian Geissel, who is also a hurling coach in Naas.
One of the obligations on all sporting organisations is to facilitate speedy contract tracing for players and coaches in the event of a Covid-19 case.
And the latest update of the app allows clubs to instantly generate player-specific contact-tracing reports.
Geissel said: “Our contact-tracing report examines all training and competitive events that the player or coach attended over the previous 14 days, identifying all coaches, athletes and recorded guests who were present at the same events.
“The report automatically extracts dates, times and email and phone details — or in the case of under-18s, parents’ details — ready to be passed to the HSE Contract Tracing Unit.
“It offers a practical and easy means for clubs and organisations to keep all records necessary for efficient contact-tracing. Recording attendance is a one-tap action, easily completed by a coach or administrator as participants are greeted to the session.”
The GAA’s guidelines require players and support staff to complete a health questionnaire before every training session, including the logging of temperatures. And the SURPASSPORT app will facilitate that.
To assure security and GDPR compliance, reports can only be accessed by authorised users, whether that be a team coach, club registrar, children’s officer or the newly added role of Covid officer.
Geissel added: “Our software exceeds contact tracing and other return to sport protocol requirements for sporting bodies in Ireland and internationally. We are very excited about its prospects. It helps clubs provide added security and reassurance for players, coaches and parents, which is essential as we all try and get back to our sporting lives.
“Clubs considering summer camps will also find that SURPASSPORT simplifies registration, medical information; parental consent, coordinator delegation and, of course, contact-tracing.”
Geissel initially designed SURPASSPORT to monitor the workload of young players, recognising the players he coached invariably played several sports every week. The aim was to keep kids involved in sport longer by guarding against burnout.
The app is used by Basketball Ireland’s underage international squads and is being piloted with several academies in the UK.
But Geissel believes the latest update will provide invaluable assistance to hard-pressed volunteers, and the company will supply it free as long as the need for contact tracing persists.
“In response to the Covid-19 crisis, SURPASSPORT aims to support children in their return to sport and offers any team or club free use of the platform, for as long as restrictions or contact tracing remain in force.”
Visit www.surpassport.com for details.