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Hurling Injuries: Head and Spine

February 5, 2024

Trunk injuries make up 9% of all hurling injuries. The majority of these are soft tissue injuries and pertain to the chest, abdomen, but mostly the back. Back pain in hurling may be attributed to the repetitive twisting nature of the style of play.

Head and neck injuries account for 4% of overall injuries in hurling. This figure is significantly lower than comparative bat and ball sports such as lacrosse where head and neck injuries are over double this figure at 8.6% of overall injuries. Field hockey and ice hockey also have significantly increased incidence of head and neck injury accounting for 13% and 9% of overall injuries respectively. This is a surprising outcome as hurling is the only one of these sports that involves overhead blocking and fielding of the ball which leads to the expectation that players would be at heightened risk of sustaining a head injury.

It is worth recognising that there has been zero incidence of ocular injury reported in hurling at this elite level since 2010. This advancement in the player welfare of hurlers can be largely if not wholly apportioned to the introduction of mandatory helmet and faceguard use in the same year. Justified speculation would also lead to the same conclusion regarding the controlled head and neck injury rates reported in the sport.