Liam Griffin: Increased fitness levels causing heavier collisions in GAA

Former Wexford hurler was speaking on Friday's High Noon with George Hook about the damage done during collisions in both football and hurling

BY Cian Roche 14:14 Friday 17 February 2017, 14:14 17 Feb 2017

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

This week, Dr Kevin Moran - Donegal first team doctor - said that gaelic footballers who sustain high-impact collisions are presenting injuries similar to those who have been involved in car accidents.

While much of the attention that goes with impact injury usually falls on those within the rugby community, many high-impact collisions are making their way into the GAA.

The increasingly physical nature of gaelic games, alongside the increased fitness levels, may have played a role in this trend.

Speaking on High Noon with George Hook, former Wexford hurler Liam Griffin says that the increased levels of fitness are now the norm and that players who wouldn't be considered at the elite end of the spectrum are the worse impacted.

"We're at a stage now where on a physical strength side of things, that's evolved," he said. "Because it has evolved, it brings its own problems. Particularly in out sport whereby you have guys training at inter-county level and are training at a very high standard. Fellas at a club level will train to a high level, but perhaps not quite as high. 

"You have a collisions with guys who are coming in very fit and very strong against players who might not be up to that standard. It might not be that at club level, but at inter-county level it can be quite similar."

Gaelic games has always been known for its physicality, but with the increased levels of sports science being incorporated in the game, players at the top end are perhaps the most physically fit they've ever been.

"Collisions have always been part of gaelic football. Obviously the extent of the collisions is what he's talking about at this stage. He [Dr Kevin Moran] is a learned doctor and he's seeing it first hand. It's ratcheted up and that's probably down to the physical fitness of the individuals playing today and the introduction of power training.

"The level of sports science being used now in relation to fitness is at an all-time high in GAA. It matches the best practice that's out there and don't forget, we have a lot of people coming back from rugby doing it.

"For power play and explosive force in a game like hurling is something that really matters. You can see recently in rugby, the All-Blacks are turning back toward speed more so than strength. If you look at some of the tries that are being scored now against Italy... Ireland ran in a couple of tries with seriously good body swerving and side-stepping. 

"That has disappeared from centres in rugby. It's disappeared out of football to some extent as well. Some lads will try run through you rather than around you."

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