A drop has been recorded in the number of cruciate insurance claims in the GAA — but the figure could still see €1.32m being paid out under their player insurance scheme.
A total of 430 insurance claims for surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) were made in 2012 — 40 less than in 2011. However, at €3,000 per treatment, the potential total cost under the scheme could still exceed €1m.
The decrease in the number of ACL operations claimed for at adult football level showed a slight drop from 318 in 2011 to 315 last year.
General non-ACL knee injuries remain the biggest expense under the scheme with 1,487 claims across adult and youth football and hurling last year compared to 1,305 in 2010.
Last year marked the first time the GAA categorised the ACL injury. Previously, they had included it under the knee classification. GAA director of finance Tom Daly said the decrease in ACL claims is not necessarily an indication that the cruciate problem in the GAA is lessening.
“The overall claims are around about 6,000 in any particular year. We saw a significant drop two years when we changed the cover of the scheme. When there is a drop of 40 you could well see an increase of the same amount next year.
“I don’t think that’s representative of any particular trend, to be honest.”
The GAA’s medical, scientific and welfare committee are currently looking at devising warm-up techniques to help curb issues such as cruciate injuries.
In his annual report, GAA director general Páraic Duffy referred to their work: “The committee is responsible for overseeing an injury database that generates significant scientific data on injuries sustained by GAA players.
“The committee is currently examining — with our games development committee — a significant intervention programme [specifically in the area of warm-up] that could have substantial benefits in helping reduce the instance of muscle injuries sustained at training and games.
“I know this is an initiative that will be welcomed by players, for obvious reasons, and by clubs, which have seen medical bills escalate to an alarming degree in recent years.”
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