We heard the news this week that Kevin Doyle is to retire from professional soccer.
It's a sad end to great career in football. He has been suffering from ongoing concussion and it's symptoms in recent times. He was getting headaches and after getting medical advice he has decided to throw in the towel on an illustrious career that has taken him from the League of Ireland with St.Pats and Cork City, before he signed for English side Reading and then moved to Wolves for a club record €8m.
Doyle played with QPR and Crystal Palace, making a total of 357 appearances, finishing with Colorado Rapids.
It’s an abrupt end to an illustrious career in football that was carried out with panache and passion. He should have a role in soccer, now that he has the experience and track record to help the FAI develop players in the future. His experience would be vital under any manager who will be in charge. Watch this space and see how it develops in the not too distant future.
We have our own memories in Donegal of Newtowncunningham man Anthony Kernan who broke into the Wolves first team after an illustrious with the Irish U21 team only to receive a career-ending knee injury after one game in the top division in England. He had the opposite experience to Kevin Doyle whose injury only happened at the end of his career in England. Anthony sadly has no input into soccer in the county. It's a shame that his talents are not garnered for the development of soccer in Donegal. Perhaps he will be persuaded to re-enter the game in Donegal as he has the knowledge and ability to do a fine job in the county of his birth. His experience and knowledge of the game to any team would be the obvious choice for him, it may happen but only Anthony can answer that.
The example of Kevin Doyle should be the catalyst for change or we will have serious injury problems in the future. The story of Eric Harrison is sad. He missed the birth of his daughter as he was in hospital that day as a result of a head injury which wiped him out for three days. He can recall the players but cannot recognise them now which is sad for his family and the players he coached. It wasn't the same Eric they knew and his injuries were caused by heading the ball too much.
Geoff Astle was a brilliant player in the English First Division . He died some years ago but had he been given the advice that Kevin Doyle was given he may be still around today. He was only 59 when he died. It was a sad end to a wonderful career, and in fairness to his family they have highlighted the challenges faced by modern day players. It was thought that the heavier ball of the day was the cause of Astle’s condition, but modern day balls are much lighter and the same incidence is happening now.
It's for associations and health officials to grasp this problem as it is causing grief amongst amateur players which is worrying for all standards of players.
It's the families like the Astles who have experienced the trauma of early death from sport and that must be considered.
Other soccer news: Ramelton's Laurence Toland is looking forward to new chapter in his career.