Catherine Murphy, ABC sports presenterCatherine Murphy’s love for rugby is genetic, inherited from her rugby-loving Irish father who sparked her interest in the sport. As a sports reporter in Melbourne, she is constantly exposed to the game and the injuries players suffer at the hands of the sports they love – often, a little too close for comfort.

For Murphy, working as a sports presenter has been an incredible experience – but has left her witnessing first-hand both incidents of concussion and the struggle players face recovering afterwards.

While there is no way to stop concussions all together, Murphy says educating players is key in helping minimise the damage caused by concussion, and keeping the athletes she reports on safe.

“Education around concussion is everything. Sports governing bodies must continue to work to protect players and ensure the safest environment possible so that athletes who love contact sport can continue to enjoy playing them,” she says.

“Thankfully, the protocols around concussion have been reviewed and improved in a range of sports, not just rugby. I feel there is a bigger emphasis on protecting the head in general, which is so incredibly important.”

Murphy points to the ground-breaking research in the US on CTE – the long-term build-up of dementia-like plaques in the brain – as an important lesson on why more study into the mechanisms of concussion is important.

“Research is so important, especially looking at what’s happening in the US,” she says. “We don’t know exactly what the future holds for athletes who have suffered multiple concussions, and that’s the biggest lesson we can take from them.”


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