I read somewhere not too long ago that the recent increase in the numbers of cruciate ligament injuries has much to do with the type of boots that are worn in the modern game. Apparently there is a school of thought that believes the blade type boots favoured by many county players does not give the quality grip required for the high degree of turning and twisting undertaken by players in a competitive game of gaelic football or hurling. Some people believe that to be a factor in the high numbers of Gaelic footballers and hurlers who end up requiring corrective knee surgery and are forced to spend at least a year out of their chosen sport. Perhaps there is a grain of truth in this claim but I would imagine that the manufacturers of such boots and footwear would be quick to publish their own “research” which would show the complete opposite. It is hardly in their best interests to allow such claims as these to go unchallenged.
Whatever the truth about the claims surrounding the increased number of ligament injuries,one thing seems clear judging by Saturday’s games in Croke Park. In terms of providing good grip for players there is something inadequate about the boots many of the county players are presently wearing. Either that or there is a problem with the pitch surface but far too many players during the weekend’s games slipped and fell at key times. Tackles were missed, the ball was spilled, scores were conceded or opportunities were lost all because players lost their footing on what is supposed to be the best playing surface in Ireland. It happened quite a few times in Tyrone’s game and for the players involved they could do a whole lot worse than take a look at the footwear they are wearing and, if need be, change it for something that will give them improved grip and a better chance of winning. Even taking a look at other sports such as rugby to see if there is something that can be learned from the types of footwear their players use and trial them at training.
At this stage of the season one mistake can make the difference between winning and losing, success and failure, champions or runners up. So if it’s a choice between fashionable or functionality, well I know which my choice would be.