GAA Football

McNamee still not over 2019 concussion

16 April 2021; Offaly & Rhode GAA Footballer Niall McNamee at the launch of the AIB "The Hidden Problem" Launch at Croghan Hill in Offaly. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

OFFALY forward Niall McNamee has admitted he is still not fully over the concussion he suffered in 2019, which left him sitting on his couch in tears “for no apparent reason”.

The Rhode clubman played in last winter's championship outing against Offaly but says that even in return to training in recent weeks, he is still only “90 per cent there”.

“I got a bad concussion in club championship at home in the semi-final in 2019, and just really struggled with it for the majority of last year.

“I played club championship last year but I suppose I minded it, staying out of tackles and trying to mind it as best I can, taking nights off training if I had to as well.

“It was difficult, getting very tired during days, having to sleep for an hour or two during the day as well. I wouldn't say it's completely gone – the last few weeks, it comes and goes.

“I'd say I'm 90 per cent there. Scary enough, there's no doubt about it. I've been knocked out a few times playing games down the years but never had any after-effects, but this one was a tough one to deal with it, it was hard to get over it.

“It's funny, when I came home from the hospital two or three days after that I was at home here on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

“I was sitting on the couch and just started to cry, I just burst out crying for no apparent reason. Herself was here with me, and I was saying ‘I have no idea why I'm crying.'

“The pamphlets that they gave me at the hospital; I hadn't read them but she had and she said ‘look, it's just one of the side effects, it's perfectly normal'.”

McNamee says he isn't worried about any long-term impacts and is determined to squeeze as much out of his playing career as he can, having committed to another campaign at the age of 35.

Speaking at Extern Problem Gambling's media day yesterday, McNamee – who has spoken widely about his gambling problems in the past - says he has only paid off his debt “in the last few months.

The Offaly forward says he turns off the advertisements on TV when he is watching sport so as to avoid a potential trigger.

“I switch away from it, for me that is a trigger and these are things I would have learned when I was in treatment.

“To be honest, it just terrifies me the thought of going back and doing it because there are a lot of really good things going on in my life at the moment that I wouldn't have if I was gambling.”

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