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Medical Matters: When things go wrong, make sure to make the right moves

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At Gaelic Life we try to cover all the bases. We know how important such attention to detail is to any winning team. And we also know that things don’t always go right. That’s why we have teamed up with the National Sports Clinic at Belfast’s Kingbridge Private Hospital and their Sports Medicine specialist Dr Neil Heron for our new section, Medical Matters.

Over the coming weeks we will be bringing a range of advice on your wellbeing, and what you can do to put it right quickly if things do go wrong…

Some GAA athletes over-train, leading to avoidable injuries and valuable time missed off the pitch, says Dr Neil Heron, a Sports Injury Specialist at the National Sports Clinic, Kingsbridge Private Hospital, in Belfast

GAA is a contact sport, so sports injury specialists like myself are used to seeing the usual array of knee and hip injuries which are a consequence of getting knocked around on a pitch.

This can include everything from relatively less serious injuries like groin strain and sports hernias, to more serious injuries like labral tears in the hips and the dreaded cruciate ligament sprain or tear.

While some injuries are unavoidable, the important thing is to listen to your body and to get the help you need before mild damage becomes serious damage and weeks away from the game stretch into months.

On the other hand, most injuries – for example those which are sustained through over-training and/or training in the wrong way – are entirely preventable.

Intense training is far less important than smart and specific training when it comes to avoiding physical damage and building up the strength and stamina which will help protect you during a game.

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Smart training means doing the right exercises for the right duration with the right frequency. It means working with coaches throughout the season, changing training intensity to peak at important times, and recognising that pain is your body telling you there is a problem.

Pain means damage which means you are playing at less than your best when you need to be playing at 100%. Dismissing pain, or being too busy to get it checked out, is just asking for trouble.

A sports injury specialist will diagnose the problem quickly, using the most appropriate MRI, X Ray, Ultrasound or CT scans, and recommend the best programme of treatment.

Rehabilitation is carried out in collaboration with your own GP, referring Sports Doctor or Physiotherapist and is reviewed on a regular basis.

The National Sports Clinic at Kingsbridge Private Hospital is the first local specialist service to seamlessly integrate medical services from acute care through to assessment, surgery and rehabilitation.

This is done via a team of highly skilled healthcare professionals from a range of specialties including Sports Medicine, Orthopaedics, Plastics, Oral Surgery and Cardiology to name a few.


Dr Neil Heron

Dr Neil Heron

Dr Neil Heron is a Specialist at the National Sports Injury Clinic at Kingsbridge Private Hospital, Belfast, part of the 3fivetwo Group.  He is a Fellow and Board Member of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine. He has been a club and international team Doctor for over 6 years and has been awarded international sport medicine fellowships to Vancouver, Canada and Sydney, Australia. A medical educator and teacher, he is currently undertaking a PhD in the field of rehabilitation funded by National Institute of Health Research.




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