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'Head-first' Selwood won't change style

Adam McNicol  February 26, 2013 1:29 PM

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Geelong says it is not worried by Joel Selwood's style of play


GEELONG will not encourage its skipper Joel Selwood to alter his style of play, despite fears over the impact of his multiple concussions.
"You can't change the way Joel plays," Cats assistant coach Dale Amos said on Tuesday. "That's the way he is.

"The way they adjudicate the game, in terms of contact to players, is as good as it's ever been. It's much safer than it ever was.

"So we trust that the game will enable guys to play the way they are, because we all admire Joel.

"He's the captain of our footy club for a reason. He leads by example, and I think everybody admires the way he plays."

Former Geelong, Sydney Swans and Carlton star Greg Williams, who was recently diagnosed with a degenerative brain condition, has expressed concern about Selwood's welfare.

Williams told News Ltd that Selwood "gets knocked out a couple of times a year and gets stunned that many times that the club has to protect him because he can't protect himself."

Williams added: "He is a champion player and courageous, but he is too courageous for his own good.

"If he keeps getting concussed, it's a huge issue for him in life and they have do to something about it."

But Amos is adamant that the vast majority of AFL players, including Selwood, understand the dangers associated with repeated head-knocks.

"What was once seen to be brave and macho is quite different now," Amos said.

"Everybody in the industry is much more educated, and the players are no different.

"We expect (responsible communication) from them on a daily basis.

"They report how they're feeling, and their consultations with the medical staff or the physios are quite extensive, so I think players are quite in-tune with how they feel.

"They understand their own body quite well, in terms of their own treatment and how they're managed."

In response to the mounting evidence that head-knocks can lead to degenerative brain problems, the AFL has strengthened its concussion rules in recent years.

"You just can't cheat the system anymore with those sorts of things," Amos said.

"The tests are in place, and a lot of the time the medical staff go above and beyond what is required (by the rules) to tick a player off, ensuring players are in a fit state to perform.

"I think clubs are heavily invested in players' welfare and making sure that that comes first in all situations, whether it's a head injury or any other injury.

"There's no compromise and there's no short cuts with that sort of stuff.

"So I think the (Geelong) players are really confident in the (club's) medical staff, and I think the medical staff ensure that the confidence remains because of the way they go about it."

Adam McNicol covers Geelong news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter at @AFL_AdamMcNicol