Dr. Enda Davitt and Kieran Donaghy were on Thursday’s OTB AM and spoke about how to manage concussion in sport.
While both agreed people’s knowledge of the subject has improved in recent times, there was concern that the same level of care isn’t available at the lower ends of sport.
Donaghy told a story in which his cousin had a serious head injury while warming up for a rugby match, as an example of the issue.
“Then the game started, he was sitting with an ice pack over his head, the game was on… They called my uncle straight away when he got the bang, my uncle got there and he said he was sitting with a pool of vomit in front of him.
“My uncle straight away said in his head, ‘this young fella is dying’. He was rushed to Cork and his head was cut open, rushing from the ambulance to the theatre, to relieve the pressure on his head,” Donaghy said.
His cousin, Ronan Fitzgerald, is now fine and studying nutrition but it did show the dangers that can come from seemingly innocuous bangs to the head.
Dr. Davitt mentioned a study that sought to predict the recovery time after sustaining a concussion, in which there were some alarming statistics.
“Players who stay on the field after sustaining a concussion, even without having sustained another injury… the studies would show that the player who was taken off immediately took 18 or 19 days to recover.
Those who stayed on for between three and 15 minutes, their recovery time was extended to 28 days. If they stayed on the field for an extra 15 minutes their recovery time went up to an average of 44 days,” Dr. Davitt explained.
While coming off the pitch immediately can be vitally important, one major obstacle to this is that the symptoms don’t always appear immediately after a concussion.
Donaghy gave testament to this as he said, “I’ve gotten plenty of bangs to the head but I don’t know if I’ve actually been concussed at senior level.”
While concussions are certainly managed better now than they were, Dr. Davitt felt there was still a long way to go and that players looking after themselves and their fellow players is crucial.