Mulvihill: Doctors duty-bound not to toe the line on new rules

Kildare senior football team doctor Danny Mulvihill will openly contravene the new sideline regulations this weekend.

Mulvihill, chairman of the Gaelic Games Doctors Association (GGDA), said it would a dereliction of his duty as a GP to the team were he to sit in the stands.

According to the new rule, which comes into formal operation this weekend, only one medic is permitted on pitchside, with the obvious choice for most county teams being the physio.

However, when Kildare face Donegal in Saturday’s Division One curtain-raiser at Croke Park Mulvihill insists he will be on the sideline.

“I’ll be on the pitch and I have been on the pitch so far for all our games this year. It’s my intention to be on the pitch along with the physio as a team.”

As GGDA chairman, Mulvihill has received several emails and phone calls from GAA doctors voicing concern about the new directive after only learning of it in the press.

He also said physiotherapists are of the same mind and said some doctors would contemplating quitting GAA teams were the rule to be introduced permanently.

He has been given assurances by Croke Park that medics won’t be prevented from carrying out their previous practices but hopes a compromise can be found.

“There is no way we would have agreed with it because we wouldn’t be able to do our duty. We have a professional and ethical responsibility to look after players. This is interfering with our medical practice as it was established without any discussion or consultation.

“The physio is usually a younger person and does most of the running but the doctors are there straight away if there is anything that looks more serious.

“Most grounds have (team) seats behind the dugout but it’s still not practical and there are walls. Some of them are six or seven rows up and our doctors would be taking a risk scampering down the steps to look at injuries. It’s just not on.

“The physio and the doctor work as a team and track players who may be coming back from an injury or concussion. There’s no way we can do that if we are separated.”

Following Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Anthony Cunningham, Cork’s Conor Counihan yesterday criticised the measure of cutting a team’s sideline personnel to five, which was reinforced by GAA president Liam O’Neill last Saturday.

“Was there issues I wasn’t aware of? Sideline bust-ups and that sort of thing? I hadn’t see anything like that,” said Counihan. “It certainly didn’t happen at inter-county level. I would like someone to explain the rationale behind those. Maybe there is something I’m missing.”


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