National Concussion Testing and
Treatment Programme Launched
by UPMC and Gaelic Games

GAA, LGFA, GPA and The Camogie Association
join to roll out programme to all Inter-County
players across Ireland
Croke Park. Monday, 05 Dec, 2022. UPMC has joined with the Gaelic Athletic
Association (GAA), Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA), The Camogie
Association and the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) to roll out a concussion
baseline testing programme to inter-county players across 32 counties – with the
goal of rapidly diagnosing and treating concussions in players. The initiative, which
begins today, will cover football, hurling and camogie and players will participate
equally across all codes.
“UPMC is changing how health care is delivered in Ireland, and we are excited to
use our world-renowned concussion treatment and testing experience to assist
players across our national games,” said David Beirne, senior vice president of
UPMC International. “As a global leader in concussion care, sports medicine and
rehabilitation, UPMC is proud to support this player welfare programme along with
our dedicated partners.”
Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy said, “A considerable effort has been made in the
area of education and awareness among players and coaches in relation to
concussion and it requires constant vigilance. This latest development between
leading experts in UPMC and the Gaelic Games Associations is not only welcome
but vital to ensure best practice is being followed. Although this is a programme that
focuses initially on inter-county players our intention is to see the benefits of the
programme made available to clubs and to every player at every level as soon as
Uachtarán ACC Hilda Breslin said, “We are delighted to be joining with UPMC and
the Gaelic Games family on this National Intercounty Concussion Baseline Testing
Program. The welfare of our players is paramount, and we hope this program will not
only help ensure our players have the right medical treatment if they sustain a
concussion, but it will also provide important insight on concussive incidents in our
President LGFA Mícheál Naughton said, “Confirmation of the baseline testing
programme for inter-county players is a most welcome development. The short and
long-term impacts of concussion have come into sharp focus in more recent times
and to be in a position to assist our players on such a wide-scale basis is a huge
step forward. If concussions are not diagnosed early, and treated carefully, the
consequences can be series, and with a huge risk of repeat concussions. We are
delighted to join forces with our colleagues in the GAA, the Camogie Association, the
Gaelic Players Association and UPMC to roll-out the concussion baseline testing
programme. I am sure that this programme will be of huge benefit to a number of our
players and, from a health and safety perspective, this is a vital intervention piece.”
CEO of the GPA Tom Parsons said, “This is an extremely important step in terms of
looking after the physical welfare of players on the training pitch and the field of play.
With the attritional nature of Gaelic games, head injuries and concussive events are
an unfortunate feature of our games. Being able to diagnose and better manage the
return to play protocols provides players with an greater standard of care with head
injuries. That is why we are delighted to partner with UPMC and the three National
Governing Bodies to proactively monitor the incidence and effects of concussion on
our members. This will allow us to take the necessary steps in mitigating against the
consequences of concussion and delivering the best possible care for players.”
Baseline concussion testing will be provided to all inter-county players across
Ireland, and these players will also be covered for concussion physician specialist
treatment. This will be delivered using the ImPACT concussion testing model,
evidence-based, neurocognitive assessment software co-developed by UPMC
concussion specialists. ImPACT, which stands for Immediate Post-Concussion
Assessment & Cognitive Testing, is an objective tool to support trained clinicians in
making return-to-activity decisions following concussions.
This announcement builds on UPMC’s pilot programme for baseline testing that was
launched in 2021 for the GAA. It also follows a recent conference in September
between UPMC and GAMA (Gaelic Athletic Medical Association) in University
College Dublin, where Michael “Micky” Collins, Ph.D., director of the UPMC Sports
Medicine Concussion Programme in Pittsburgh, and his colleagues presented on
their latest research and treatment protocols.