Clare’s concussion approach commended as ‘player comes first’

The Clare hurling management’s treatment of Paul Flanagan’s recent concussion has been commended by the GAA’s medical, scientific and welfare committee chairman Ger Ryan.

Last week, Davy Fitzgerald revealed one of his players, without naming him, had suffered concussion in the Division 1 semi-final win over Kilkenny and would be stood down for last Sunday’s final against Waterford.

Fitzgerald said at the time: “The most important thing with this set-up is the player comes first. I’m not going to risk anyone, if I thought it would cause problems down the road. We have one player who got concussed after the Kilkenny game. He’s mad to go but I don’t think we’re going to. He’ll be devastated. The player is number one, no matter what else happens. Winning hurling games is number two.”

Ryan applauded Fitzgerald’s openness on the subject but most importantly his duty of care towards the defender. “The fact that attention was drawn to a player that had been concussed and it was determined he wasn’t ready to return to play is indicative of how serious inter-county managements are treating these things. He had obviously been assessed by the medical team and it was realised he couldn’t play against Waterford in the league final.

“It was clear there had been a diagnosis reached and concussion protocols have been followed all in the interest of the player. There was no message or attempt to short-circuit the recovery period. It was clear what Clare wanted to do. They were focusing on doing the right thing.”

Having followed the return-to-play protocols, Flanagan will be available to Clare again for Sunday’s Division 1 final replay in Thurles. However, the game may still be too soon for David McInerney who is still recovering from a back injury, which has ruled him out of the last three games.


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