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It’s Time for our Stars to Pass the Screen Test – Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh

Filed under: News/Events - Posted on Sunday, December 4th, 2005 @ 4:08 pm

The death of Cormac McAnallen in March 2004 highlighted the desirability of having all sports people medically screened.
It used to be thought that such young, fit people were free from health risks but cases such as Cormac’s have recently forced a re-think on this issue.
When the news broke recently that the young Kilkenny hurler Conor Phelan had been advised on medical grounds to quit playing the game it acted as another reminder.
Conor has since decided to seek a second opinion elsewhere, and that idea is good in itself, but more important was the very welcome response of the Kilkenny County Board, in having all members of the panel screened.
Player welfare is a topical subject nowadays and it would be worthwhile for all counties to follow the example of the Noresiders.
Some may even have done so already but there should be no exceptions. Cost should not be a factor, and the central authority of the GAA could give the lead by funding the scheme either partially or totally.
Ideally it should involve county teams at all levels, but a start should be made with the senior panels as they are the ones training the most intensely.
Screening for possible cardiac complications should get priority. Problems of a cardiac nature are the most feared category of all and they are the type that have attracted a good deal of notice over the past few years.
Even recently our gifted and extremely fit senior golfer Des Smyth was found to have such a problem when subjected to a screening test. Fortunately the necessary action was taken and the Louth man can enjoy many more enjoyable years on the world senior circuit.
Screening can also reveal other less serious frailties affecting vital joints like knees, ankles, shoulders, etc. …

By Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh
(4 December 2005)

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