"I was in front of goal and I aimed for the corner flag" - DJ Carey discusses his experience with concussion

The former All-Ireland winning Kilkenny hurler was in studio with Colette Fitzpatrick

"I was in front of goal and I aimed for the corner flag" - DJ Carey discusses his experience with concussion

©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Sunday is World Head Injury Awareness Day, and to mark the occasion, Colette Fitzpatrick invited former All-Star DJ Carey in to studio to talk about the seven concussions he sustained throughout his hurling career.

While Carey confesses that he can't recall every one of those head trauma injuries, he documented one particular incident which illustrates the various symptoms one can experience when they are struck by concussion.

"I have seven that I know of, but I never had one that was a clatter of a hurl. It could be a shoulder or a fall or an elbow. Very little or any were ever meant.

"One in particular, I can remember being told about it. I got an elbow I think in a county final in 1992. Now it was accidental and I went down for a couple of minutes but I played on for almost the whole game.

"I got a free with about five minutes to go, seemingly important. I was straight in front of goal and I aimed for the corner-flag. Then someone thought there was something wrong with me and I was taken off because I obviously wasn't playing well."

Carey also revealed how he shared an entire conversation with his then Kilkenny manager Ollie Walsh at the time, which he says he has no recollection of to this day.

In recent years, the former Kilkenny star underwent surgery for a double brain aneurysm and seven blood clots. No direct correlation was ever established between the aneurysm and his history with concussion, but there could be a link with the blood clots.

Carey explains:

"No one knows whether they're linked or not. With the blood clots in particular, I wore a helmet all my life and when you're going up to catch a ball, there's guys pulling.

"That can be missed as often as it can be hit so you can get a clatter on the head but you don't take much notice because you are in a game so I'm sure over the years that a certain amount of it would have built up. Instead of bleeding externally, I was bleeding internally."

The interview also identified that concussions are not always the outcome of a direct blow to the head, but can be triggered by a body blow which causes dangerous reverberations in the head. DJ Carey highlights how tactics in modern day sport may actually promote higher levels of body clashes rather than reduce them.

"In some ways the games are tougher because guys are building themselves up. I never lifted a weight in my entire life but now my 17 and 18-year-olds are bulking up.

"When I was playing, you were hitting guys with your own body mass so you're running into a brick wall. I used to try and side-step a guy. Now you take them on."

You can listen to the full interview below, which also features Sonia Gallagher from Headway Brain Injury Support: