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Past players fear head knocks: Wallace

Peter Ryan  February 26, 2013 1:20 PM

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Terry Wallace (l) with former teammate Russell Greene

I would absolutely be ruled out by medical staff in this day and age, but I went back out and played seven days later
THE POTENTIAL health impact of head knocks sustained during their playing career will be going through the minds of many past players according to former AFL player and coach Terry Wallace.

On Monday, Wallace told Crocmedia's Sportsday that by speaking publicly about the potential relationship between his current health and head knocks suffered during his career former AFL champion and dual Brownlow medallist Greg Williams had made it possible for a realistic, open discussion to take place about the issue.

"There are many people who have sat back and [thought] 'well, I wonder but I don't want to be the first person to actually put up my hand…[because] do I look like I'm just having a bit of a whinge later in my career? Do I actually look like I'm trying to do something where I am actually trying to milk something out of the AFL?" Wallace said.

Since Williams interview was aired, former Hawthorn ruckman Ian Paton and Richmond forward Brett Evans have spoken about their own concerns that knocks sustained during their football career might be affecting their health now.

Wallace said he had not had any tests to determine whether playing football had impacted on his brain and had not had any reason for significant concern.

However he claimed there was a much less due diligence around concussion during the time he played with players basically left to make their own decision about whether they should return to the ground after a knock or miss the following week if they suffered concussion.

Wallace said he played the week after having his jaw broken, after having dual plates put in his face, playing with upper and lower mouth-guards and 80 stitches.

"You just don't miss as a player. If you're given the opportunity to play, common sense would have said that I would have been out under those circumstances. I would absolutely be ruled out by medical staff in this day and age, but I went back out and played seven days later," Wallace said.

The AFL is hosting a Concussion in Football conference on March 20-21.