Protecting the health and safety of all people who participate in our game is of the highest importance to the Australian Football League (AFL).
The AFL takes concussion and the protection of brain health in all those playing our game extremely seriously, and we’re focused on supporting the wellbeing of all participants from the elite programs through to community and junior levels.
The AFL’s vision is to be a global leader amongst contact sports in protecting past, present and future players from risks to health and safety presented by sport-related concussion.
Our mission is to reduce the incidence of sport-related concussion in Australian Football and to manage the risks to health and safety presented by sport-related concussion. We will pursue excellence in delivering on that mission by building understanding, enhancing prevention measures, enabling timely detection and evidence-based recovery, and facilitating support at every level of the game.
What is concussion?
Concussion is an injury to the brain that can be caused by a direct knock to the head or a jolt of the head following an impact to the body (e.g. whiplash injury). When the forces transmitted to the brain are high enough, they can injure or "stun" the nerves and affect the way in which the brain functions.
For the full definition of ‘sport-related concussion’, refer to the AFL’s Strategic Plan for Sport-Related Concussion in Australian Football.
What should you do in the event of a head impact incident?
REMEMBER THE FOUR R’S:
- RECOGNISE AND REMOVE
Recognise and Remove
If a player displays concussion signs and/or reports symptoms after experiencing head trauma, the player should immediately be removed from the match or training session for assessment.
If there are any “red flags” e.g:
- Neck pain or tenderness
- Double vision
- Weakness or tingling/burning in the arms or legs
- Severe or increasing headache
- Seizure or convulsions
- Loss of consciousness
- Deteriorating conscious state
- Increasing restlessness, agitation or combative behaviour
An ambulance should be called and the player referred to hospital immediately.
Otherwise, the player should be referred to a medical doctor for assessment (at the venue, local GP or hospital emergency department), as soon as possible.
The player (or parent) should provide the assessment from the AFL-approved HeadCheck app (click here for more information about the HeadCheck app) to the medical doctor and as much information as possible to help the doctor to assess the player.
The player and club should follow the advice provided by the medical doctor supported by the AFL Concussion return to play guidelines.
For full instructions on what to do in the event of a head impact incident, visit the AFL’s Concussion Management guidelines for community football