The long-standing inter-county referee, James Owen, contracted COVID in August 2021. He made an initial recovery and then suffered long-term effects, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, classifying him as a “long hauler” for COVID.

“When long Covid struck, I simply wasn’t able to run. My lungs weren’t able to generate the required air capacity,” said Owens

Owen says that over the months when he was battling long Covid, the fatigue was always destined to return.  He was left tired and exhausted with no other choice but to “sleep it off”. Then he experienced hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), and undertook five HBOT treatments before taking and passing the national GAA referees’ fitness test end of January, clearing him to return to refereeing.

“I got out of the chamber after the first session and my lungs were on fire, so I knew something positive was happening,” Owens explains. “The idea of the hyperbaric chamber is that it pushes pure oxygen into parts of the body that it doesn’t otherwise reach, and the heat coming from my lungs proved that the process was actually happening.”

Read more at RTE