2005 – AFL Tribunal system revamped
AFL Tribunal system revamped with Match Review Panel (later Match Review Officer) appointed prioritising player health and safety.

2006 - Inaugural AFL Concussion Management Guidelines 

Inaugural AFL Concussion Management Guidelines developed with the AFL Doctors Association and introduced (updated periodically until 2015 and annually afterwards, later also applying to AFLW)

2007 - Prohibition 

Prohibition introduced on bumping a player front-on with head over the ball and stricter stance against head-high bumps.

2010 - Specific guidelines 

Specific guidelines to address the risk of head-high contact from dangerous tackles introduced.

2011 - Community Football Concussion Management Guidelines 

Community Football Concussion Management Guidelines released (and updated in 2013, 2017 and 2021) supported with education materials.

2013 - National Conferences 

National Conferences organised by the AFL Doctors Association (with the AFL) on concussion management (2013, 2017) to share learnings from International Concussion in Sport Group

2013 – Concussion substitute

Concussion substitute introduced to allow a player being assessed for concussion to be replaced.

2014 – Hawk-Eye

Hawk-Eye match vision review technology adopted for use by AFL (and later) AFLW Club doctors to assesses in-match concussion and head trauma.

2016 – Tribunal guidelines amended

Tribunal Guidelines amended to broaden the application of the “potential to cause serious injury” sanction loading.

2018 – HeadCheck App

HeadCheck App introduced to assist/guide concussion management for junior players (adult version later launched).

2019 – Strict liability introduced

Strict liability introduced for players choosing to bump resulting in forceful head-high contact.

2019 – CSx Online Platform

CSx Online Platform introduced to record all data for concussion incidence and to facilitate auditing and compliance reviews

2020 – Concussion “Spotters”

Concussion “Spotters” appointed to monitor all AFL and AFLW matches from the AFL Review Centre and in communication with Club Doctors in-match.

2021 – Mandatory minimum recovery

Mandatory minimum recovery Concussion Management Guidelines introduce mandatory minimum 12-day post-concussion recovery and rehabilitation period for all levels of Australian Football.

2021 – Medical substitutes introduced

Medical substitutes introduced for AFL where player medically unfit to continue can be replaced from an additional interchange player.

2021 – Key AFL appointments

Key AFL appointments made - Head of Concussion Innovation and Research and Head of Concussion and Healthcare Governance

2021 – New concussion governance

New concussion governance structure adopted by AFL with appointment of Concussion Steering Group and Working Groups, working closely with Concussion Scientific Committee.

2022 – McCrory Report released

The AFL received and published the report of the independent review it commissioned into Associate Professor Paul McCrory and allegations against him relating to plagiarism and other issues connected with research and medical work on sport-related concussion in the AFL.

2023 – AFL releases strategic plan

The AFL released its Strategic Plan for Sport-Related Concussion Management in Australian Football for the current period through to 2026 - click here. An industry Concussion Steering Group will also continue after being established over 12 months ago as part of the AFL’s commitment to best-practice governance structure. 

2024 – AFL Concussion Protocols: Community football to adopt minimum 21-day return-to-play protocols
The AFL announced important developments in relation to the return-to-play protocols in the concussion guidelines for AFL and AFLW and all levels of Australian Football, including community football.  In AFL and AFLW, the mandatory minimum 12-day return-to-play protocol will be maintained, while under the new community football guidelines, the earliest that a player suffering a concussion can return to play is on the 21st day post the concussion incident. Click here.