Tom Liberatore looks on after the Western Bulldogs' loss to Essendon in round five, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WESTERN Bulldogs vice-captain Tom Liberatore has been cleared to return to action once he exits concussion protocols after passing a series of medical assessments on Tuesday. 

The 31-year-old won't face St Kilda on Thursday night after being placed into the League's concussion protocols on Saturday, following an incident behind play last Friday night where the midfielder collapsed to the ground at Marvel Stadium. 

Liberatore passed a SCAT6 concussion assessment in the rooms after the final siren on Friday night and didn't display any symptoms over the weekend.

But due to the graphic nature of the incident, the club put Liberatore through a range of medical tests on Monday afternoon.

Liberatore was assessed for cardiovascular and respiratory issues and was medically cleared on Tuesday afternoon. 

Sporting clubs around the globe have become hyper vigilant to heart related issues following the cardiac arrest suffered by Danish footballer Christian Eriksen during the Euros in 2021, while Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer suffered the same issue and collapsed twice in the space of six months last year. 


Liberatore is expected to return against Fremantle next Saturday night if he continues to transition through the protocols without any setbacks.

The Western Bulldogs didn't hesitate erring on the side of caution on the weekend, given the veteran's concussion history. 

Liberatore entered the AFL's concussion protocols twice last year following incidents against Fremantle in round seven and Hawthorn in round 22.

Tom Liberatore (left) is seen post-match during round five, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The club reached the decision on Saturday after consultation with AFL medical boss Dr. Michael Makdissi. 

With Collingwood premiership defender Nathan Murphy announcing his medical retirement on Tuesday after suffering his 10th concussion in last year's Grand Final, months after Angus Brayshaw was forced to retire, expect clubs to take an even more conservation approach with incidents like this in future.