Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane says players accept they are at risk of injury when playing, including head injuries, writes Joe Leogue
He was commenting following the retirement of international striker Kevin Doyle, who last week announced he is hanging up his boots at the age of 34 due to health concerns.
“This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic, and causing me to have repeated headaches,” the former Colorado Rapids, Reading, and Cork City player said last week. “Two concussions this season and numerous others over the years have made this more concerning. After consulting with experts in the field it has been decided that to avoid the possibility of these symptoms become more serious and permanent, I will be hanging up my boots for good.”
Asked of Doyle’s retirement, Mr Keane said the situation is “sad” but that he has no doubt Doyle made the right decision.
“It’s sad to see him retire. He’s 34, he’s had a decent innings and hopefully he’s picked the right time to retire. As everyone else has been saying, ‘your health is your wealth’. If he’s had concussions over the years and he feels he’s suffering from them, then obviously he feels it’s what’s right for him.”
However, Keane said injuries are a part of sport.
“It’s part of the game — players picking up injuries and getting knocks. He’s a centre-forward, he’s going to be having a lot of challenges with centre-halves — it’s what you’d expect. I’m sure he’s knocked a few centre-halves over himself and he’s had a few knocks, and that’s part of the game. There’s risk involved in everything, particularly in sport. It’s a physical game. But hopefully Kevin’s picked the right time to say, ‘Enough’s enough’. We wish him well, of course.”
Asked if more research needed to be done, he said: “I suppose there is, that’s ongoing. But if you’re worried about the physical side of any sport, you’re wary of it, then play chess. It’s part of the game, whether it be hurling, football, American football, the rugby lads, it’s part of the game.
“When you cross that line, there is an element of risk involved… when you cross that line, there’s a chance you might get hurt. They’re the risks you take,” he said.
This story first appeared on IrishExaminer.com