A new TG4 Documentary which will be broadcast tonight at 9.30pm will highlight the real life effects both mentally and physically that serious injuries have on GAA players.
The programme An Taobhlíne which is part of the Tabú series will feature female and male players as they recover from serious long term injuries and looks at the impact Gaelic games can have on a body and what really happens when your body is in conflict with your passion for the game.
St Brigids players and sisters Shona and Coleen Barrett who are both recovering from dreaded cruciate injuries are two of the players featured in the program made by Midas Productions.
The Dublin duo both missed their clubs championship campaign this season due to their injuries and Shona who ruptured both knee ligaments and tore her hamstring off the bone gave a harrowing insight into the mental effects that such injuries can have on a player.
“I have a kind of post-traumatic stress even just watching football on TV now. I get nervous watching the tackling even.”
Another player to feature in the TG4 Documentary is 17 year old De La Salle hurler Evan Drohan who was attending the UPMC Whitfield clinic in Waterford for his second hip operation in a year.
Evan is only too aware that he will have a difficult choice once his rehab is finished whether or not to return to the game he loves.
“I’m only 17,” he says at one point. “I have to call the shots myself. If I do go back playing, the chances are 80 per cent that I will need surgery again at some point. If I don’t go back playing, I might never need surgery again. That’s the key thing Dad was saying to me, ‘You have to think of your future. Is it worth the pain?’ I could end up with arthritis, like.
“I’m talking to a few physios at the moment and I told them that my other hip had been bad as well. And they’re kind of telling me in a roundabout way not to go back.
Hopefully I will be back. I’d love to play hurling again. Without hurling, it’s tough going. But I’ll have to find something to do if I do end up stopping playing.”
The program is a stark reminder of the pressures and strain that are particularly placed on young athletes bodies and the problems that it can cause on both their physical and mental health not just during their playing days but also long after they have retired from the game.
You can tune in to TG4 at 9.30pm tonight Wednesday the 5th of December to watch what will be a fascinating and eye opening documentary.