Donegal star Ryan McHugh says a concussion injury led to a talk about how he can change his game.
A second concussion, suffered while playing for Kilcar in a challenge game in August, saw McHugh miss all of his club’s Donegal SFC campaign.
Last summer, Donegal manager Declan Bonner called for more ‘protection’ to be given to the All-Star, who suffered an earlier concussion during last year’s Allianz League.
During his time away, McHugh consulted with his father, the 1992 All-Ireland winner Martin McHugh, and with Bonner about altering his style..
“It is something dad and I have spoken about over the last couple of months and with Declan over the last couple of weeks to see how I can change the way I play the game.
“It is something I am looking at down the road, at changing my game, but at the moment it is a wee bit difficult.
“I think it is easy saying that around a table or when you are talking to someone but when you are in the middle of a match and you see the ball and you are thinking I need to go at.
“I really don’t know the right answer. You could stand back the whole game and then make one run and get a bang in the head.”
The first blow arrived during a League clash with Kildare last spring, but McHugh’s symptoms weren’t noticeable for a week and a half.
He said: “It was one of those kind of injuries that is strange because when you are looking at somebody with concussion you don’t think there is anything wrong with them.
“When it happened, the first one was a wee bit strange because I did not get the symptoms until a week and a half later.
“You get the dizziness and all that. It is a strange injury in that you can’t go to the gym to build it up, you just have to rest. Stay away from mobile phones and computers which is difficult in this day and age.”
McHugh helped Donegal to the Ulster title last year, but his season was over when he shipped a second heavy blow to the head while playing against St Vincent’s in a challenge match in Cavan,
He said: “Mum and dad were worried when they heard it was a bleed on the brain but I was just so engrossed in trying to get back with Donegal, I was not thinking about it.
“All you want to do is play football. My father keeps telling that my career is short and you want to play in every game possible.
“The hardest thing you can do is to stand watching it because you want to be middle of it.”
McHugh was under the care of the Letterkenny-based surgeon Mr Kevin Moran during his recovery,
He said: “It is what it is but you take medical advice and you have to think about later on in life. I put my trust in Kevin Moran’s hands and to be fair he advised me the best way possible to get back. Thankfully I am good again.
“I remember that training session when I went over to him and said I did not feel well and he just pulled me out straight away.
“It was 100 per cent the right thing to do. I took the break then. You have to listen to your doctor, he knows best.
“If I went back too early I might not be sitting here playing today if I got another bang.”Tags: