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€8,500 May Stop Another Cormac – Counties Urged to Act

Filed under: News/Events - Posted on Saturday, November 13th, 2004 @ 4:10 pm

Top medics have revealed that it will cost €8,500 (£6,000 sterling) for a county GAA squad to undergo cardiac screening.

The figure was revealed at a seminar organised by the Ulster Council, examining Sudden Cardiac Death Syndrome (SCD).

Guest speaker, Dr Matthew Wilson, the Screening Manager for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), told 35 doctors and physios from county sides that it costs €285 (£200) to screen an individual – costs that would be the same in all 32 counties.

Down secretary Donal McCormack insists that cost is not an issue for their county squads.

“We will discuss it with our doctor and physios, who were at the seminar, and if they felt it was necessary, money would not stand in the way of the health of our players,” he said.

“Money will not be the determining factor. It never has been in Down and won’t be on this.”

The Tyrone County Board paid for its entire football squad to be screened after the death of captain Cormac McAnallen (attributed to SCD) to allay fears that the type of training they were doing may have been a contributory factory.

“Other county boards and governing bodies should look at the possibility of screening their players,” said Tyrone Chairman Liam Nelis.

“It would be prohibitive for clubs. In clubs, some minor teams are training harder than senior teams.

“We would aim that it would be at least provided for elite athletes.”

But, as Nelis points out, the issue is a live one for all grades of sports, not just inter-county squads.

“Why not U-21s, minors, development squads and clubs,” said Ulster Council High Performance Director Dr Eugene Young.

“They [CRY] would be happy to come across and do the screening. It is down to a cost thing. Can we afford to do it and where do we start?

“The responsibility for (county) players eventually comes down to county boards.”

In Tyrone, currently a number of individuals are in the process of setting up ‘The Cormac Trust’.

Their initial aim is to provide a defibrillator and training in its use for at least six members of every club in the county, including rugby and soccer sides – 56 clubs in all.

Defibrillators increase the survival chances of anyone who suffers cardiac arrest on the pitch or at a match, and cost between €1,300 (£900 sterling) and €1,700 (£1,200 sterling).

Nelis estimates that 15-20 people have died in the crowd at GAA matches in the county over the last decade.

The movers behind the Cormac Trust have set their sights on raising awareness among clubs and organisations.

“We want to show them the importance of cardiac screening of players,” said Nelis. “Screening might seem costly, but it could save a life.”

13 November 2004

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