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Irish Times Journalist Takes Big Swipe At Dublin GAA Over Planned Concussion Article

Irish Times Journalist Takes Big Swipe At Dublin GAA Over Planned Concussion Article
By PJ Browne Updated

Concussion and how sport deals with it in both the short and long-term has become a major talking point over recent years.

Just last weekend, we saw Lee Keegan carried from the Pairc Ui Rinn pitch - ten minutes too late - following a collision with Eoin Cadogan.

In an interview with David Walsh in today's Sunday Times, Brian O'Driscoll told of undergoing neurological tests post-retirement due to worries about his health.

It was this interview which prompted Irish Times writer Gavin Cummiskey to relate an annecdote about an article which he had hoped to pen regarding the subject.

Cummiskey, who was speaking on Off The Ball's review of the Sunday sports pages, had planned on taking a former rugby player and a current GAA player to see the new Will Smith film 'Concussion' and then get their opinions about concussion.

Smith stars as Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian American doctor who first discovered the condition in American football players which became known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The film tells of Omalu's subsequent battle with the NFL to silence his findings.

Two days before the screening of the film, Cummiskey received a message from a Dublin footballer who had agreed to participating. Due to pressure from Dublin management, he was forced to renege on his commitment. No reason for pulling the player out was proffered by Dublin GAA.

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My boss has came up with a good idea for an Irish Times piece that we were going to run this week.

I go to Concussion and I bring an elite gaelic footballer and an elite ex-rugby player. So we go to the movie, we go to the press screening and afterwards I get their opinion.

I asked five ex-rugby players. Now for one reason or another they couldn't make it. I went through four gaelic footballers. A lot of them said yes and then changed their mind at the last minute. At the end I was stumped and had nobody, so I went by myself, it was great.

The worst one was, one of the gaelic footballers. I'm not going to name names, but it would have been cracking, just to get his opinion afterwards; a really intelligent guy, aware of all this stuff.

Two nights before the screening, I got a text going 'I'm really sorry Gavin, I have to pull out of this. It's from up above, it's from the management.'

It was so frustrating because it was a real opportunity to take a current, well-known guy to see this concussion film - which is so worth watching - because it does relate to what's happening in rugby.

I'm not going to name the team, they're the All-Ireland champions and they were in Castlebar last night. It was that management pulled him. I've got no reasoning, he's got no reasoning. We just had to move on. It was a shame because it could have been one of these pieces where you just turn your tape recorder on and get out of the way and let someone who knows about this stuff give you their opinion on it.

Picture credit: Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Read: Brian O'Driscoll Honest Admission To How Retirement Brings Added Worries About His Health

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