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Clubs use Hawk-Eye to look at concussion from new angle

Saints skipper down after head knock Nick Riewoldt in the rooms after this collision with Levi Greenwood
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 9: Nick Riewoldt of the Saints comes off the ground injured during the 2016 AFL Round 03 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on April 9, 2016. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Nick Riewoldt was withdrawn from the game against Collingwood after a knock in the second quarter
[We want to know] how easy and how beneficial is it for the medical staff on matchday
AFL football operations manager Mark Evans

CLUB doctors will be asked to determine the value of using Hawk-Eye vision in concussion assessments before the AFL considers extending the technology beyond the MCG and Etihad Stadium.

The new system, which is being trialled at the two venues this season, provided evidence to St Kilda's medical team on Saturday that helped them decide to withdraw Nick Riewoldt from the clash against Collingwood. 

The trial allows club doctors to watch vision of a head knock from a range of camera angles on a computer, shortly after an incident occurs.   

At other AFL venues, club doctors can still get available vision of a knock but they need to ask club officials on the bench or in the coach's box to provide it. The AFL's concussion protocols request that doctors use available footage to aid their assessment of a player.

On Saturday, St Kilda doctors were able to watch the Hawk-Eye vision of Riewoldt's collision soon after the incident took place in the second quarter.

The footage showed his arms moving after the knock in a manner that indicated he had suffered concussion. 

This meant, despite coach Alan Richardson's post-match impression, that Riewoldt had not passed the concussion test as vision is considered one of the tools used to determine the effect of a knock, even though the player has no direct involvement. 

AFL football operations boss Mark Evans said club doctors would play a key role in determining the technology's value when assessing concussion incidents.

"[We want to know] how easy and how beneficial is it for the medical staff on matchday," Evans said.

"We're keen to trial it and then take the [club's] feedback when everybody has experienced it."

Port Adelaide, Gold Coast and the Brisbane Lions are yet to be exposed to the technology on matchdays as they haven't played at either the MCG or Etihad this season.

The AFL expects each club to have the opportunity to see first-hand how the technology works during matches, before using club feedback to explore extending its use.

The effectiveness of the Hawk-Eye technology was discussed when the AFL's concussion working group met at the AFL on Monday night. 

Concussion remains a hot topic in the AFL with a range of rules implemented to protect players, and the AFL open to exploring all avenues to create a working environment that is as safe as possible.