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AFL to announce tightened concussion protocols prior to Opening Round


THE AFL will this week announce a more stringent set of concussion protocols as Jimmy Webster becomes the latest player in the crosshairs of footy’s biggest issue.

Clubs have been told that the minimum 12-day rest period after a concussion – first implemented in 2021 – will remain.

But AFL chief medical officer Michael Makdissi has also written to inform them that there will be a further tightening of the return to play protocols.

The added measures, to be detailed before Opening Round, will allow the league to apply greater scrutiny on players returning from concussion.

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As things stand, the earliest a player may return to play is on the 12th day after the day on which the concussion was suffered.

To be eligible they must have successfully completed a graded loading program and obtained medical clearance.

It’s understood about a third of all concussed players miss two games while recovering from a concussive episode.

The AFL is also due to respond to a series of recommendations put forward by state coroner John Cain during his investigation of the death of former Richmond footballer, Shane Tuck.

Cain has called for the league, among other things, to reduce contact training sessions to lower the risk of concussion.

It comes as Webster braces for match review officer Michael Christian’s assessment of his bump on North Melbourne’s Jy Simpkin.

Webster will almost certainly be sent directly to the tribunal, whose new guidelines state historic cases have no relevance due to “evolving community standards”.


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