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Player Welfare

The GAA has developed a player welfare and medical scientific website on
The website is managed by a group of professional medical personnel dedicated to providing the best medical advice to all players og Gaelic Games .We have published a mere summary here.Please consult the website for full details

• Pre-Training/Game
• During Training/Game
• Post Training/Game

Pre-Training/Game Nutrition
Pre-training or game nutrition does not start in the hours before the game or session, but in the days and weeks before hand. Adequate nutrition over a prolonged period of time will lead to an improved performance.
The major part of every meal consumed should consist of a source of carbohydrate — such as pasta, rice or potatoes. Added to this is a good source of protein such as lean meat, chicken or fish. Vitamins and minerals are important to ensure that the body can make the best use of the carbohydrate and proteins ingested, so a good range of fruits and vegetables should be consumed at meal times and throughout the day as snacks.
In the week leading up to an important match, there should be a gradual increase in the amount of carbohydrate consumed to ensure that stores are topped up. If the increase is sudden the benefits will be lost, and this, in fact, can prove detrimental.
Match Day
Any meal taken on match day should be taken 2—4 hours prior to throw in to allow for digestion. If you suffer from nerves or anxiousness before a game, it is possible to replace a meal with a liquid meal. The match day meal should again consist of a good source of carbohydrate
During Training/Game
Replacing fluids and fuel lost is the most important element of nutrition. You should have access to a sports drink and water during training and games. Players and coaches should use every opportunity possible to get fluids into your system— injuries, substitutions, stoppages in play, half time.
Post Training/Games
After training and games it is important to start refueling the body as soon as possible. Fluids lost through sweating must be replaced. Monitoring of hydration is important to refueling. For each kg of weight lost due to sweating, replace with 1.5 litres of fluids. Sports drinks containing 6 — 8% carbohydrate, some electrolytes and a source of protein are important in the initial stages of refueling. Keep some fruit, such as a banana or some dried fruits along with water or a sports drink in your gear bag to ensure that you can begin refueling as soon as possible.
Your post training/game meal should mostly contain a source of carbohydrate, such as pasta or rice, to replace lost carbohydrate stores, and some protein such as chicken or lean meat as a source of protein.
Maintain a high carbohydrate intake in the days after a high intensity training session or game to ensure that carbohydrate stores are maintained in preparation for the next session/game.
Nutrition for the Immune System

The immune system consists of a vast number of cells, tissues and messengers – for example, cytokines – that play a key role in protecting the body against infection and in healing after injury. In football and hurling terms its your half back and full back lines!
Many athletes falsely assume that high levels of nutrients and nutritional supplements automatically have a beneficial effect on immune function and health. However this is not the case as evidence has shown that the immune response can be impaired by both inadequate and excessive intakes of nutrients.

Key “nutrient players” needed to maintain a healthy immune system.
Carbohydrate is a critical fuel source for supplying energy/fuel to both muscle and immune cells.
• Breads / Baps / Rolls
• Breakfast cereals and porridge
• Potatoes / Pasta / Rice
• Scones / Crackers / Fruit cake
• All fruit
• Carrots / Parsnips / Peas / Sweetcorn
• Yoghurt / Yoghurt drinks / low fat milk

Carbohydrate replacement during training is important and this can be taken in the form of sports drinks or gels. Also the immune system can experience transient suppression in the few hours after intense or prolonged exercise. THEREFORE RECOVERY WITH FOOD AND DRINKS DIRECTLY AFTER TRAINING AND MATCHES IS
CRUCIAL. Eating foods containing both carbohydrate and protein is important during this time. Examples
• Banana + low fat fruit yoghurt
• Flavoured milk + apple + muesli bar
• Breakfast cereal + low fat milk + dried fruit
• Sandwich / Roll / Wrap filled with chicken / Ham / egg / tuna
• Carton of milk and sandwich
• Breakfast cereal and milk
• Baked beans and toast
Inadequate intake of protein can impair immune function leading to an increased incidence of infection.
Good protein sources (also low in fat) include:Animal: Lean meat, Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Eggs, Low fat milk, Low fat cheese Vegetable: Pulses (Peas / Beans / Lentils), Nuts, Seeds, Soya products Fat:
An adequate intake of minerals iron and zinc and vitamins A, E, B6 and B12 are important in keeping our immune system healthy .Hence, an athlete should try to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral status with a well balance diet. There is the added benefit of being able to increase your carbohydrate intakes by getting vitamins and minerals from foods and also improving fibre intakes which is important for long term bowel health.
If, for any reason, you would like to take a supplement as a precaution, or you have been recommended to do so from your medical practitioner a multivitamin-mineral supplement with amounts not exceeding two times the recommended daily amount (RDA) is both safe an adequate for optimal sports performance.
Guidelines for Losing Weight
Set a Realistic Time-Frame
Organise your program so that fat loss can be achieved in a reasonable time frame and during a period where any side-effects or pressures are unimportant. For example, start at the beginning of pre-season training (or even before) so that it is not an issue during important competitions.
Examine Current Exercise and Activity Patterns
Exercise is the other half of the weight loss equation. The best way to manage your weight permanently is to combine a programme of regular exercise with a balanced, low fat diet. If training is primarily skill or technique-based, or you live a sedentary lifestyle between training sessions, you may benefit from scheduling in some aerobic exercise activities to help burn the fat.
Lose Weight Slowly
If loss of body fat is required, plan for a realistic rate of loss of about 0.5kg-1kg/1-2lb per week. Any more than this and you risk losing muscle
How to Reduce your Fat Intake?
• Start your day with fruit, yogurt, wholegrain cereal, porridge or wholemeal toast.

• Include five portions of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet – eat fresh fruit as a snack, pile salad into your sandwich or add a side salad to your main meal.

• Make vegetables and grains the base of your meals – pasta, potatoes, rice, cous cous, bulgar wheat.

• Flavour salads and vegetables with herbs, lemon/lime juice, fruit vinegar

• Add extra vegetables to pasta and curry sauces, stews, soups, bakes, shepherd’spie and lasagne.

• Make fresh fruit the base for dessert – add yogurt, fromage frais, custard or half fat crθme fraiche.

• Minimise added fats and oils in food preparation (e.g. dressings, added butter and margarine, cream, fatty sauces).

• When cooking, opt for lower fat cooking techniques such as baking, steaming, boiling and grilling instead of frying.

• Reduce saturated fats e.g. butter, pastry, biscuits and puddings. Choose lean cuts of meat and substitute skinless chicken, white fish and beans for some of the meat in your diet.
• Avoid foods made with animal fats or hydrogenated vegetable fats as they contain larger amounts of trans fatty acids i.e. margarine, biscuits, cakes and bakery items.
Low Fat Snacks
• Sandwiches/rolls/pitta/bagels (filled with salad, tuna, chicken, turkey, ham, marmite or banana)
• Low fat yogurt and fromage frais
• Fresh fruit (e.g. apples, bananas, pears, peaches, nectarines, grapes)
• Scones, potato cakes, crumpets
• Dried fruit
• Rice cakes/ bread sticks
Fill up on High-fibre foods
• Wholegrain breakfast cereal
• Porridge
• Wholemeal bread and pasta
• Brown Rice
• Beans and lentils
• Potatoes
• Fresh fruit
• All kinds of vegetables

Eat Little and Often
Aim to eat 5-6 small meals and snacks each day at regular intervals. This will help maintain energy levels, prevent hunger and avoid fat storage.

Cutting down on your alcohol intake can help you lose unwanted body fat. One pint of beer is equivalent to 182 kcal so if you cut out five pints per week, you’ll save 3640kcals per month, that’s 0.5kg

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