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Hurling Injury Prevention

October 15, 2020

Entire inter-county championships can divert course based on the injuries of a few key players. Take Joe Canning’s season-ending groin injury and its contribution to Galway’s early exit from the championship. Similarly, Patrick Bonner-Maher’s absence due to an ACL injury has been bitterly felt in the latter stages of Tipperary’s 2019 championship campaign. Based on the prospective study of 900 hurlers discussed in this blog series, 70% of hurlers experience significant injury causing time-loss from play. The reverberations of a single injury take a significant toll on players, teams, club and county, making injury prevention a pillar of success in the game of hurling.

The GAA15 is a 15-minute dedicated injury prevention program consisting of 6 elements. The program endeavours to integrate compound strength exercises and plyometric drills which are more sport-specific than typical warmup/cool down drills.

The first element of the GAA15 is running based and lasts approximately 5 minutes. This section involves acceleration/decelerationdrills and internal/external rotation of the hip.

Sections 2-5 of the program focus on biomechanics or the body’s movement patterns. These sections involve lower limb specific strengthening exercises along with core strengthening which is pivotal to the prevention of back injury in hurlers. There is a hamstring-specific prevention component in the program involving Nordic hamstring curls. Balance and jumping exercise drills are the other components of the program. The last part of the program is sport-specific and is centred on plyometric prevention drills where players focus on their landing and directional change.