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AFL CEO Happy For Clubs To Work Around Rules

afl concussion

AFL CEO Happy For Clubs To Work Around Rules

AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan, has spoken to media on the new medical substitute rule, confirming he is happy for injured players who are subbed out to return early if healthy.

The new rule was introduced the day before the start of the 2021 AFL season and allows club doctors to determine an injured player unfit to continue the match and unfit to play in any match for at least the next 12 days, allowing the club to substitute a ‘23rd player’.

The rule was introduced to lessen the effects of the AFL enforcing stricter injury rules, specifically a new concussion rule requiring any concussed player to miss a minimum of 12 days and at least one game.

After several clubs used the new medical substitute rule during round one of the season, McLachlan said he doesn’t have a problem with the substituted players returning early depending on club doctor analysis.

“I have never had any reason to question the integrity of our doctors,” McLachlan said.

“On the day they make a declaration that they contemplate the injury is of the nature that the player will be out for 12 days, if they’re able to come back quicker, great.

“We hear of people being out of four months and being back within two weeks and I think that’s a part of football and a part of the rehabilitation process, them making those estimations and we will continue to work through it.

“We have a team of people working on each sub, working with the doctors on that issue but I don’t have any reason to question it…

“I think people are real about our industry, that every rule people look to work around it.

“We’ve got the doctors, the interface of the decision makers, and the integrity department reviews each case on the Monday or Tuesday and it’s a rule that sits within our code of conduct,” he said.

The discussion comes after Geelong star, Patrick Dangerfield was suspended for three games after hitting the head of Adelaide player, Jake Kelly, which resulted in concussion for Kelly.

“The people that make the decisions on the framing of the rule are to be commended when it was very clear on the weekend that Patrick Dangerfield, there was no malice, but he elected to bum and Jake Kelly was concussed and there was going to be an accountability for that,” McLachlan said discussing the incident.

“That’s what I want everyone to know, you can bump, but if you hit the head you will be accountable for that,” he said.

The focus on concussion in sport has increased drastically in the past few years, and the start of the 2021 AFL and NRL seasons has further sparked discussions with a number of players across both codes suffering concussions in the opening rounds.

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