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"It Was Never A Good Sign Having Accumulated Four Concussions By 18"

"It Was Never A Good Sign Having Accumulated Four Concussions By 18"
Arthur James O'Dea
By Arthur James O'Dea
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Roscommon's Conor Shanagher has outlined his decision to retire from Gaelic football as a result of concussion. Only 20-years-old, Shanagher documented his struggles with "traumatic brain injury" in a three-part blog.

A promising midfield player who has represented the Roscommon U20 team, Shanagher described his suffering with numerous concussions, "each one worse than the previous one."

"My first concussion was noted when I had an unbearable headache for two hours after a game 5 years ago," Shanagher describes.

"A quick trip to my doctor proved I was concussed and was ordered to rest for three weeks. As years passed I was playing more sport than ever and got concussed 3 further times before leaving secondary school.

"All advice was taken on board but the headaches seemed to stay longer and were much worse than the previous one. It was never a good sign having accumulated four concussions by 18."


A terrifying ordeal for one so young, Shanagher understood that radical change was required a "during county quarter final against Oran."

Half way through the second half I jumped for a kick out and woke up to the physio asking me to count to 10. I did so with no problems but was taken off two minutes later. This is when the headaches started.

It appeared that I was knocked out for a few seconds. I returned to college that evening due to start my final year studies the following morning. Once I reached Maynooth I fell asleep instantly and woke the next morning feeling horrible. Excruciating headaches, incredibly fatigued and in a horrible mood.

I knew I was suffering another concussion due to past experiences. I’m afraid I have suffered many concussions over the years but the symptoms were never this bad. The tiredness, headaches and symptoms were here to stay it seemed. My mother came to collect me on Tuesday evening to return home. I was in no mood or state of mind to attend college.

I was sleeping my days away and unable to do any tasks due to the lack of energy I had. Looking at the phone screen or tv would only make the migraines worse.

In what will hopefully be a retelling of an experience that encourages greater consideration within the sporting community, the final remarks from Conor Shanagher offer the sober reality the Roscommon man must face far ahead of his time.

"The last thing I thought I would be doing by 20 is retiring from the sport I love but at the end of the day I have to look after my health," Shanagher states.

"This will mean I wont be playing but I still hope to be an active member of my GAA community with the hope of getting into coaching in the future.


"Thanks for clicking into the blogs and hope it gave you a quick insight into the dark side of concussions.

To read the three-part blog in full click here

See Also: 8 Of The Best Steals From O'Neills This Black Friday



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