New concussion protocols for community football


Children and adults who suffer a head knock while playing football will have to sit out for at least three weeks under changes to the AFL’s concussion protocols.

The new protocol will operate in all other Australian football competitions, including the Victorian Football League and VFLW, Coates Talent Leagues and all community football competitions for senior and junior players.

Under the new community guidelines, the earliest that a player can return to play after a concussion is on the 21st day after the day on which the concussion was sustained and provided that the player has safely progressed through each phase of the return-to-play program.

The existing 12-day break after a concussion will remain for only AFL and AFLW players.

The AFL said the difference in rest periods between the AFL and AFLW compared to all other levels “reflect the differences in the level of medical resources that are generally available at the elite level of the game that generally do not exist to the same degree in other competitions.

AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said the AFL takes very seriously the issue of concussion and the updated community football guidelines reflect the AFL’s ongoing commitment to the health and safety of all present, past and future players.

“The AFL’s concussion guidelines are the most stringent concussion protocols in Australian sport both at a community and elite level and we are committed to continuing to take action to protect the safety of players at all levels of the game.” he said.

“The updated community guidelines represent a significant step in the AFL’s existing record of ongoing improvements to its concussion management strategy that reflect medical research and other learnings over time.

“We play a contact sport and there is always going to be risk, however over recent years we have continued to take action to strengthen match-day protocols and amend the Laws of the Game to discourage high contact, and we will continue to do so.”