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People need to ‘be smart’ when socialising


DOCTOR ON CALL Mayo’s team doctor Seán Moffatt is pictured with Jason Doherty during an FBD Connacht League. Pic: James Wright Photography

Mike Finnerty

ONE of the country’s most-respected sports doctors, Dr Seán Moffatt, says that if people don’t follow the public health guidelines around Covid-19 and behave responsibly in everyday life — away from the sports field — the chances of GAA squads being shut down due to the spread of the virus remains a possibility.
Three Cork GAA clubs had to pause all activities for a number of days last week ‘to comply with HSE public health advice and guidance from Croke Park on contact tracing protocols’ due to a Covid risk. The Man O’War GAA club in Dublin also announced on Sunday that they had suspended all activities ‘until further notice’ after a club member tested positive for Covid-19.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Dr Moffatt — who has been working with various Mayo GAA teams at different grades since 2006 — called on players, officials and supporters ‘to be smart’ and to adhere to public health advice at all times.
“If you think about it, our games occur outdoors and the risk is low,” said Dr Moffatt.
“It’s really about what we do in the interim period. If we’re out, and we’re socialising, we have to stick to the guidance that’s there.
“If we break that guidance, and we’re socialising and gathering at closer distances, then you’re more likely to contract Covid and more likely to bring it to the game or training environment.
“So it’s really important that once we get back to games, and a club wins or loses, what we do that evening and the next day… Everyone has to be smart.
“That’s where leaving that period of 48-hours between training sessions is important, and that players and backroom team officials don’t attend the next session symptomatic. That’s why those questionnaires and health-checkers are there.
“For the games to keep going, for clubs and squads not to be shut down, these are the things we need to manage. If we start getting complacent in general society there will be a spike and sport is just a part of that.
“We are getting to enjoy a sport that we love, but there are terms and conditions attached to it and everybody has to make an individual decision.
“We have to try and adhere to the guidelines,” he added. “It’s the same as what we’re seeing in the community, we’re seeing increasing numbers of covid cases in younger people.
“It’s to be expected to some degree because after lockdown, people want to socialise and congregate. But it’s inevitable that if we don’t stick to public health guidance, and the GAA guidelines are adapting public health guidance to contact sports, you could see an increase in case numbers.
“And if there’s an increase in case numbers in the wider community, then the whole focus on winding back some of the elements that were in place before may come into play again.
“We’re seeing that in other countries, and there would be a knock-on effect into sport.”

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