GAA

Signs Of Club GAA 'Injury Pandemic' Ahead Of 2020 Championship

Signs Of Club GAA 'Injury Pandemic' Ahead Of 2020 Championship

Strength and conditioning coach Mick McGurn has warned that club GAA is on the precipice of an 'injury crisis' when competitive action returns next week.

With sport being sidelined due to the coronavirus pandemic, workloads need to managed in order to lower the risk of injury. McGurn, who has worked with the Armagh senior panel amongst other roles, has said that teams are "rushing back too quickly" to their normal workloads.

"I have had some horror stories the last two weeks. One club has nine hamstring injuries after two sessions, another club has two ACL injuries, a broken collar bone, five hamstrings and three groins," said McGurn to BBC Sport NI.

"Another club: snapped Achilles tendon, three MCL's and eight hamstrings, and the final club has three calf tears, four hamstrings and eight quad tears after four training sessions.

"These are real life figures from clubs all over Northern Ireland. It's the impatience of the coaches trying to get their players up to speed."

McGurn also stated that the schedule of matches isn't an issue, but rather the expectancy to train amidst those matches which causes issues.

"For the first time we are getting a better ratio of matches to training," said McGurn, who has also acted as an S&C to the Irish rugby team and international rules side.

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"In the past it has been something like 14 training sessions to one match. GAA players want to play matches.

"So with a smart training system you can play at a weekend, recover during the week, top up some of the elements, prioritise some skill work and then play again.

"For GAA players themselves this is perfect. It's what you do between the matches that will determine how many injuries you will get. If your training load is too much you are going to get a thing called accumulative fatigue that will lead to long-term injuries".

Due to the coronavirus, the GAA's calendar has been squeezed into a window between the start of July and Christmas. The summer is set to be chockfull of club GAA action before the county game takes over in the autumn. Both All-Ireland finals are scheduled for December.

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Sean Meehan

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