Going back to back to club training in January can be difficult….. but to make sure you give yourself the best chance for enjoying the year ahead, here are 5 basic tips.

1) Insurance – No matter where you play GAA you’ll always have your hatchet men….standing on a pitch with some of these guys can lead to injury. As much as we all love the game, we still have to work (maybe not after a county final win). If you get a serious injury whilst playing, you may be in serious trouble if you’re self employed or unless you have a very rich partner! Apart from having the usual insurance through your GAA club, I always recommend players to get some personal income protection. Having this type of protection gives you peace of mind when playing alongside the hatchetmen (Please note – “peace of mind” does not protect you from these lunatics)

2) Training – Playing GAA  means different things for different people, some teams take it very seriously and some teams are more social, do your research and find the teams that suit you (whether it’s A or B team).  Training assists with the prevention of injury, because if you just play matches without training the risk of injury dramatically increases. Other types of training that also reduce injury, yoga, pilates, swimming and cycling are all very good forms of cross training and help to reduce injury and overload on the body. But the best part about training is that it’s a great social event also. Everyone can share in the misery of the weather and mind numbing drills.

3) Pre match – get there on time!! There is nothing worse than the manager ringing guys wondering where they are with many people getting “stuck” in the traffic or you’ll get the classic I’ll be there in 5 mins, when you haven’t actually left the house. In the ideal scenario you should not be hungover, you’ll play poorly, and if you’re still drunk you’ll think you’re an all star (you’re not). Playing hungover increases the risk of injury and annoys your manager and team mates, who have stayed off the beer the night before. Do a good warm up with some sports specific drills, drink lots of water before and during the game. Don’t run straight from your car onto the pitch with “we are the champions”  ringing in your ears, this increases the risk of injury and the possibility of getting roasted by your opponent is relatively high if not certain!

4) Respect – for coaches, club officials and referees. The GAA is a voluntary organisation, your coach does not want to hear you moaning if he takes you off as a sub. Chances are, you were playing rubbish or you’re hungover and he finally noticed. If you get a text from your coach to ask if you’re going, a simple reply is good manners, at least he knows where you stand. Most of the refs have never refereed a game in Croke Park.  Please remember this before you start abusing or criticising their decision. They are as my mammy would say, “Doing their best”, without them the games would not go ahead and we would not have a thriving worldwide GAA community thanks to the hard work of all the people involved in running our clubs.

5) Post match – This is a serious one…. If you get a knock on your head or your think you have a fracture, then you must go to hospital, DO NOT go on the beer. Thankfully there is more education regarding brain injuries, but you still get some heroes out there. If you share a house/lift with someone who got a bad knock make sure you take them to the hospital (Thanks Heif, Danny & Barry). If you have swelling around a joint – knee, ankle or hand then it’s best to get it checked out sooner rather than later. Early intervention of injuries will lead to a faster recovery, which means you can go back training – which means you’ll be able to find out why you woke up on Monday morning with a packet of frozen peas in bed beside you (it was a good idea at the time!)

If you have any injury concerns or issues feel free to contact us or make an appointment 041 984 7545 or book online at www.compassphysio.ie – Clinics located in Castlecomer (Kilkenny) and Tullyallen (Louth)

Colin Phillips
Chartered Physiotherapist

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