Derry senior football physio Conán Kearney Loughrey
Ramping up training too early after the lockdown lay-off will risk injury, stresses Derry senior football physiotherapist Conán Kearney Loughrey.
Elite level players, in his opinion, should be able to return to competitive games within four weeks of training recommencing.
Certain club players will train in a similar manner to their county counterparts, but others who have not maintained their training to the required level will require longer to reach match fitness and in some cases a 'mini' pre-season.
When the GAA Management committee give the signal for return to action, one concern is the danger of contracting Covid-19. As it stands, almost 12 weeks have passed since Leo Varadkar's speech signalled the beginning of lockdown.
For Conán, from a physiotherapy point of view, his worry is getting players back on the pitch without a risk to injury.
"Doing too much too soon after doing too little for too long, puts athletes at high risk of soft tissue injury,” Conán explains.
The work in the gym, completing running drills and focusing on speed are important building blocks, but there is another important layer on top. Getting match fit only comes from competitive action.
“A really important point for players, is that nothing replaces the demands of unpredictable sport and that's why graded exposure to these activities are required to reduce incidence of injury."
The twisting and turning that follows the decision making during a game, comes on top of the various collisions.
“You would still need a period of collective training of about four weeks for players to work with each other, before they can get back into game scenarios. If someone said we had a match in two weeks, I would be very worried.
"I would be very worried for two reasons. Any coach would do this, the training would naturally ramp up very quickly in order to get us fit for the game. That's an injury risk and the game coming so soon would be an injury risk.
"I would want double that time in order for players to get back at it and be comfortable in themselves."
Full interview in Tuesday's County Derry Post
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