THE family of a young Omagh GAA player who was the victim of an alleged one-punch attack during a game last week, are launching a new campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers of head and facial injuries in sport.
Dan Haigney sustained a broken jaw in three places while playing in a Tyrone Minor League game for the St Enda’s, but is recovering well after surgery at the weekend.
The Omagh club has described the incident as ‘sad and unfortunate’ and wants more to be done to prevent similar attacks in the future.
Now the Haigney family and Omagh St Enda’s are launching the initiative as a result of the ‘distress and soul-searching’ caused as a result of the injury to the teenager.
Chairman, Conor Sally, said the campaign is being spearheaded by Dan’s father, Eugene, who is a doctor by profession.
“We as a club believe that the ‘Hands Down – Protecting our players from head/facial injury’ initiative will complement our existing Codes of Conduct and Behaviour that each and every child within our club agrees to on an annual basis,” he said.
“This programme will be delivered to our youth players initially and will highlight the potentially serious consequences of incidents on the field, when such injuries occur.
“We want to reassure our parents that as a club and a community, we will continue to do all we can to develop and indeed protect our youth members participating in our games. As a club we feel that education of coaches and youth players is vital in reducing the potential risk of serious injury to players.
“If our club can in any small way reduce the rate of such incidents and injuries within our games, this would at least by one positive outcome from this sad and unfortunate event.”
Mr Sally added that they were inviting Tyrone GAA and other clubs to avail of the initiative, which the St Enda’s club hopes will ‘change the culture’ within the county and Ulster and All-Ireland GAA to such incidents.
The club is also calling on Croke Park to consider conducting an audit on head and facial injuries occurring at games which could feed into prevention and the protection of players.
They also claim that GAA Rules on such incidents are ‘inconsistent and lack clarity’ and fail to act as a sufficient deterrent.
“As a club we want to retain where possible all our young players, their families and coaches, whom we are indebted to for their determination and continued participation and promotion of our games,” he added.
“We all however, have a responsibility to ensure that as an organisation we take all reasonable steps to protect our members, especially our youth players, who proudly wear our jersey. We will not shirk from this responsibility.”
Posted: 6:01 pm August 7, 2020