The Australian Football League has stated that they have “new” rules on concussions. However Kim Hagdom of SportsNewsFirst.com.au seems to disagree. Before we get to what was said by the AFL operations chief, take a look at this video;
Yup, a lot of hits in this game Down Under have the extreme potential for head injuries. However, the AFL says it is under control;
Anderson clarified his ruling with a strict “if a player is clearly concussed he will not be allowed back onto the playing field”.
If a player is “clearly concussed” there’s never been any doubt that he wouldn’t go back into a match or continue in a game.
As Hagdom also penned; what happens when they are not so “clearly” concussed. Or, even better what is the definition of “clearly concussed”? There are various incidents in this sport where players are helped off or appear, through observation to be mired by signs of concussion, yet return to action. If they are only using signs such as being knocked out, or the Fencing Response the AFL will be missing a lot of the head injuries occurring on the field.
It is even more confusing as the Sydney Morning Herald reports that players “diagnosed” with concussions will not be allowed back into the game or training. The way it is presented there (and subsequently met with confusion as well), is that “new” this year is the diagnosis key. Prior to this season, players were allowed back on the ground if a doctor cleared them.
I won’t even begin to act like I know the rules of this game, but in the cited article Hagdom also noted that the AFL has changed the substitution rule;
It’s when a player is not so “clearly” concussed that will cause big concerns from this season as clubs juggle the controversial new substitution law where a player is not injected into a game until one of his teammates is withdrawn for the rest of the match.
This little law in the game seems to be a barrier for players to be truthful about symptoms, and puts the medical staff in quite a predicament when trying to make a decision. Proper evaluation should take at least 15 minutes, is that too long in this game? What about a coach who really “needs” a player back in the game as they would be playing a man down for that time?
What I can tell you is that the AFL should address all of these things, if you think the NHL or NFL has a concussion problem, I would venture to guess that Footy is even worse. The season begins this weekend, I will leave you with another video.