2011 .... Stringent new concussion rules in place

New guidelines by the AFL Medical Officers Association.

    PLAYERS will not be allowed to return to the field on the same day they have been diagnosed with concussion.

    When the diagnosis is obvious - loss of consciousness, confusion, memory disturbance etc - the player will not be returned to the field of play," 

    "When the diagnosis is uncertain, the player will either be assessed on the bench or in the rooms and this assessment will take up to 10 minutes. If a concussion is confirmed, the player will not be returned to play, but if there are no issues following his assessment, the player may return to play."

    Players with temporary symptoms such as blurred vision, dizziness or unsteadiness may be allowed to play with monitoring for signs of concussion.


The guidelines have emphasised that after a concussion, players will be managed in the following ways for the next week:

 A period of rest to allow recovery.

 Monitoring for recovery of symptoms and signs.

 The use of cognitive tests, including computerised testing to estimate recovery of brain function.

Graduated return to activity with monitoring for recurrence of symptoms.

A final medical clearance before resuming full contact training and/or playing.


Head Injury Instructions


The person in your care has suffered a head injury.


Head injuries can result in serious, unexpected, sometimes life-threatening outcomes. These complications may follow a period of apparent good health. Please follow the following instructions. Remember that this form is a guide only.. if you have any concerns at all, seek medical advice urgently


• Watch the injured player at home.

• Someone responsible must stay with injured player for the next 24 hours.

• The injured person must rest quietly for 24 hours.

• The injured person must not drink alcohol for 3 days

• The injured person must take only medicines prescribed by a doctor.

• Check for the symptoms listed below every 2 hours for the next 24 hours. Wake the injured person every 2 hours .


Consult a Doctor If Player has...

• Dizziness,confusion or loss of conciousness

• Drowsiness or difficulty being awakened

• Repeated or persistent vomiting

• Headache which worsens or is severe for more than a day

• Difficulty seeing

• Difficulty walking or using arms, or unsteadiness

• Bleeding or drainage of other fluids from the nose or ears

• Slurred speech

• New or worsening neck pain

• Any new or severe symptoms


If You Cannot Reach Your Doctor

Go to Emergency Department of your local hospital or call an ambulance.


Handing over responsibility

Do not hand over responsibility of this injured player's to anyone you do not fully trust to follow these instructions. If you do hand responsibility on, then give this form to the person accepting responsibility.



Playing again

This player must be cleared by a medical practitioner before playing again. Please inform the club doctor if you experience headache on resuming training.


Any concerns in the future

If the player experiences any problems with headache, neck pain, concentration, memory or any other issue possibly related to this head injury, over the next few weeks, please seek medical advice.




FOOTBALLERS are counting the long-term cost of concussions.

Concussion - we accept it's just part and parcel of the crash and bash of football and even a badge of honour to play through it, however, scientists are accumulating irrefutable data which is building an increasingly concerning picture of the long-term cost of even mild concussion.

Education of staff and players about the risks and consequences of brain injury from concussion needs to become obligatory for all clubs. Neuropsychologist, Dr Micky Collins states when the brain is in a concussed condition it's not ready to be hit again.

It's not like adding one plus one when you have another concussion before the first has recovered. It's like adding one and six.

Who could forget the recent massive hit on Hawthorn's Jordan Lewis?

Lewis was clearly concussed, but amazingly was allowed to re-enter the same game and then fronted up again the following week.

The research of multiple concussive injuries are clear and the effects are irreversible which can lead to depression, anger management/impulse control difficulties, difficulties with decision-making and higher cognitive functions. Sound familiar to any ex-football players? Speaking from experience I can relate.

Sadly it seems to be taking the AFL a long time to catch on and respond to this body of research.

It could easily be argued that a lifetime of significant brain injury and disability is not worth a moderately short AFL career, or any other level for that matter.

I urge AFL TAS to take a leading role and implement an unconditional policy regarding players resuming after concussion.

It could even be taken out of the hands of clubs who understandably look to the next four points, and not necessarily the player's welfare.

The NFL position in the US makes sense. It doesn't want to diminish its game but recognises the seriousness of this issue and has developed a harm minimisation program. Strict regulations apply when a player gets concussion.

When will the penny drop in Australia? Will it take legal action from an ex-player suffering from concussive-induced brain injury to sue a club for allowing them to resume too early after concussion? It is inexplicable that football bodies of all levels of football show scant regard to its seriousness.

I have first-hand experience working with people who have Acquired Brain Injury and it has made me realise the lack of action the football world takes. Weekend results were all fairly predictable except for the North Launceston win.