IT’S been interesting watching the debate this week surrounding the concussion issue in football.
While such debate has never been far from the headlines for many years, the admissions by champion footballer Greg Williams that his playing days were now resulting in memory loss has given the issue new meaning this week.
Clearly, the AFL has taken major steps in recent years to protect the head when it comes to players contesting the football.
Serious penalties exist for players going outside the rules and this new focus on protection has cleaned the game up enormously.
Present Western Bulldogs player Robert Murphy revealed on Fox Footy program AFL 360 this week that players were well aware of their duty in looking after each other these days. Such attitudes are vital to the future safety of the game.
Head clashes and accidental collisions will forever be part of football while statistics such as “contested possession” are still considered an important element to any team victory.
The role of clubs in protecting player welfare must sit at the centre of this debate.
Clubs have tests and procedures in place that reveal if players are fit to return after serious collisions.
It’s paramount medical staff at all levels of football ensure such procedures are protected at all costs.
Any player knocked unconscious in a football match should not be allowed to return to the field in that game.
That player should also be stopped from playing for at least the next week, no matter how they feel.
Such measures are the only way to ensure total player safety.