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Armagh legend to launch new Mayo GAA initiative

Sport

Armagh legend to launch new Mayo GAA initiative


Daniel Carey

FORMER Armagh footballer Oisín McConville will be among the guest speakers as Mayo GAA formally launch a new Health and Wellbeing initiative in Breaffy House Hotel at 8pm next Friday, March 27.
The Crossmaglen Rangers star, a multiple All-Ireland winner who documented his troubles off the field in the book ‘The Gambler’, is now a trained counsellor, specialising in cognitive behavioural therapy and suicide prevention. He was described by Mayo GAA Board vice-chairman Seamus Tuohy as ‘a fantastic advocate … particularly for young people’.
McConville will one of a number of speakers at the seminar, which is open to all GAA members as well as members of the public. It will also hear from Mayo GAA medical director Dr Seán Moffatt and lead physiotherapist Liam Moffatt on their new roles.
Dr Moffatt told a press briefing for the event held before the recent National Football League game between Mayo and Dublin that the cousins had been examining injury data from recent years since their respective appointments late last year.
“It’s abundantly obvious that there’s a cluster of three or four injuries that really put players out and affect their welfare – predominantly hamstring, groin, knee and ankle,” said the Ballina-based medic.
They were, he added, trying to ‘detect injuries at an earlier stage’, and expressed the hope that they would see ‘a drop-off’ in injury rates, particularly with chronic injuries.
“Aspects of that programme that we’re putting in place for the seniors will also help our underage players,” Dr Moffatt explained. “Our underage players … are particularly vulnerable – they’re the most talented group and they’re playing for multiple teams: their schools, colleges and representative sides.”
“We’re trying to streamline medical services, so there’s continuity across senior, under-21, football, hurling [and] minor in terms of where players get seen, what tests are done, what imaging is done, and also that there’s follow-up in the post-season [period].”
Seamus Tuohy, who’s also chairman of the new Mayo GAA Heath and Wellbeing Committee, added that Liam Moffatt is setting up a database on all injuries of players from under-16 upwards, and is working with ‘the likes of Barry Solan … in putting together a strength and conditioning programme [that’s] age-appropriate’. It would, Tuohy said, be ‘the first of its kind in the country’ and would hopefully be ready ‘over the next month or six weeks’.
Tuohy added that the GAA was not just ‘about playing football’, saying it was ‘important’ that the Association looks after its members.
Mayo GAA Coaching Officer Pádraic Carolan said that a mental health camp would be running for Mayo’s under-16 football and hurling teams during Easter week on April 7, 8 and 9.
Niall Dunne, who’s also involved with the Mayo Mental Health Association, revealed that information boards will be ‘going up in each of the home and away dressing-rooms within each club’ detailing the services available for people in trouble. “Getting access to support is a big thing,” he said.
Health and wellbeing committees have been set up throughout the country, and clubs have appointed health and wellbeing officers. A number of programmes now come under its umbrella, including alcohol and substance abuse prevention, the GAA social initiative, the Respect initiative, and a new partnership with the Samaritans.
Mayo GAA Board chairman Mike Connelly thanked the members of the county’s new Heath and Wellbeing Committee, and noted the role that health and wellbeing officers can play at club level.
“This is something that we have take on,” Connelly said of the player welfare initiative. “We think it’s not before time. There’s no doubt that no matter what club you go into, there’s problems ... There’s no shame to have any problem. We need to give … an opportunity to these people so that they can touch base with somebody within the club.”

 

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