William Maher speaking at the forum about his freak injury.
Former Tipperary hurler William Maher has spoken about how a freak injury ended his hurling career.
He explained how he was hit in the eye with a hurley while he wasn't wearing a helmet.
The Ballingarry man was speaking at the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) GAA club at an event hosted in conjunction with Whitfield.
The aim was to open the debate on all aspects of recovery for an athlete; from injury, operation, rehabilitation, to player health and well-being and facing up to the challenges of combining all of this with day to day demands and the demands of returning to the field of play.
The all-encompassing nature of the topics open for discussion was reflected in the event title “Injury Management and the Road to Recovery”.
The event focused on athlete injury and the challenge of managing and dealing with the recovery experience.
William Maher spoke about his time in WIT with whom he won two Fitzgibbon Cups along with how a freak accident ended his playing career on a February afternoon in 2002.
At the time, Maher was teaching at a Dublin school near UCD where he was doing his H Dip. On the day in question, he attended a training session but forgot his helmet.
Maher recalls thinking “this was just a training session; surely the risk of injury was minimal” and for the first time in his life, decided to take a chance and head without his helmet.
The consequences were catastrophic and his tale is a salutary lesson to any player who might feel hard done by or thinks he's being forced to wear a helmet.
A stray belt caught him flush on the left eye, literally smashing his socket.
He recalls: "The ball stuck in the ground, the lad pulled but the ball stayed where it was. He pulled again and I was right behind him and was caught at the top end of the pull. It was a complete accident. If I was wearing a helmet, I would have been fine.”
William explained that while his road to recovery never allowed him to play the game he loved again, he never looked back in anger on that fateful February afternoon.
It must be said that his courage and attitude provides a shining example to those who may find themselves in a similar position.
Maher stated that he “always looked on the bright side, grateful that he can walk, talk and run along with receiving constant support and love from while his father Martin, mother Anne and his four younger sisters”.