Cruciate woes make up 1% of GAA injuries

Dr Catherine Blake

A seven-year study of Gaelic players has shown cruciate (ACL) problems make up just over 1% of injuries in both football and hurling.

Although the injury has been prevalent at inter-county especially in football in recent years, it makes up just 1.1% of total injuries in the sport, compared to 1.4% in hurling.

The statistics would tally to a degree with the drop in insurance claims for surgery on the anterior cruciate ligaments last year. A total of 430 were made, 40 less than in 2011.

The data, compiled and analysed by GAA national injury database director John C Murphy and Dr Catherine Blake in UCD, factored 2,525 players over 77 teams, 45 football and 32 hurling. Not surprisingly, the adult players most at risk of injuries across both codes are 30 or over with the lowest risk between 18 and 20.

Both footballers and hurlers are more likely to injure themselves in a match (53.9% football, 56.5% hurling) than in training (37.7% football, 34.9% hurling).

Their findings have led to the development of a standardised 15-minute warm-up called GAA 15 version 1, which is aimed at reducing lower limb injuries including cruciate damage. In trials, it has been found when integrated into a training warm-up to reduce neuromuscular risks.

It is the first randomised controlled trial in Gaelic games. It will be launched in January and become part of the GAA’s Coach Education Programmes from October next year.

Chairman of the medical, scientific and welfare committee Ger Ryan urged players, coaches and medical personnel to visit the “player” section of the GAA’s e-learning portal.


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