Ruby Walsh has called for a better understanding of the treatment and management of those who have suffered head injuries, writes Brian Sheerin.
The former Irish champion jockey was on hand to launch a groundbreaking new study into understanding the long-term impacts of concussions on sports people at the Beacon Hospital in Dublin on Monday.
New research will explore the effects of repeated concussions and head injuries on those who have competed in contact sports.
Walsh presented a cheque on behalf of the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund to help finance the research, and said: "Repeated concussions can have a major effect on athletes taking part in contact sports, often impacting them both professionally and personally.
"Though athletes are tough and can take a hit, there is a need for better understanding to help with treatment and management. Therefore, I welcome this vital research."
While there are lots of existing studies on the short-term effects of concussions, the long-term effects of the injury, particularly for athletes who suffer repeated concussions, are still uncertain.
The research will seek to gather sufficient data to predict the outcome of repetitive brain injuries with retired athletes.
The study will build on research about the effects of concussion which has been carried out by the International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation (ICHIRF) since 2015.
The project will initially recruit retired jockeys before eventually expanding to other contact sports such as rugby, football and boxing.
Dr Michael Turner, medical director of the ICHIRF and chief operating officer of the Concussion Foundation, added: "The start of screening at Beacon Hospital represents a major step forward in the project and will enable retired sportsmen and women in Ireland to take part in this ground-breaking research for the first time."