INPHO/Donall Farmer Barry Murphy is treated on Friday night.

Stuart Byrne column: Football has the wrong attitude when it comes to head injuries

Goalkeeper Barry Murphy needed lengthy treatment during Shamrock Rovers’ win on Friday night but was allowed to continue.

THERE WAS A decent discussion on Soccer Republic last night about whether Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Barry Murphy should have been taken off after he collided with the post in their win over Sligo Rovers on Friday.

He was treated for a few minutes but if he was unconscious he should have been definitely taken off — There is no doubt about it.

There seems to be an “ah, he’ll be alright” attitude in football, which is very dangerous way to be. We should be looking at a sport like rugby which has a done a lot more research into the areas of head injuries and are a lot further down the line.

You get clashes of heads and that but concussion doesn’t happen that often in football and we’re probably a bit behind when it comes to dealing with those situations.

It is an issue that has been in the news in recent times with high profile players like Hugo Lloris while American football has also got a huge problem with it.

Rugby is a lot more in tune with such incidents so we need to utilise the information and research that is available.

I think the culture of the game is the biggest problem. “A bit of water on the head and he will be alright”. What’s certain is that it has to be taken out of the hands of the player.

You are dealing with young lads who by their nature will want to play on. As well as that, he may not be thinking straight either after taking a bang to the head.

During my Shelbourne days, we played NK Olimpija of Slovenia away in the Champions League. Midway through the first half, I got knocked out for a couple of seconds. I would have played on but had to come off because I had a three inch gash in my head!

I know the medical staff at Shamrock Rovers are top notch with Tony McCarthy, who is as good a physio as I have ever dealt with.

But I think it’s a culture thing and we need to look at it closer. If you’re the manager, you’ve just got to take him off.

Looking at the game itself, Shamrock Rovers were definitely the better team. They are starting to produce the stuff that we know they are capable of and they have gradually improved since the season started.

Sligo haven’t fared well so far this year. Their squad has deteriorated year on year since they won the league and they won’t be challenging for the title at the end of the season in my opinion.

That said, I still think they can push for a European spot and one of the cups.

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