The AFL confirms it has concluded its inquiry into an incident at training that left Hawthorn player Mitchell Lewis concussed.
Hawthorn has informed the AFL that WorkSafe has completed its investigation of the incident, is satisfied with Hawthorn’s response and intends to take no further action.
The AFL deferred the finalisation of its investigation, pending the conclusion of WorkSafe’s inquiries, and, after assessing the incident, which included interviews with Club officials and various players, the AFL determined that the training incident does not breach any applicable AFL Rule. In this instance, no sanction was applicable.
However, the incident serves as a reminder to all Clubs that they need to remain vigilant to protect the health and safety of all players and staff.
Further the AFL has informed all Club General Managers of Football of the following restrictions that will now be placed on all Clubs with respect to AFL and AFLW training sessions:
- Combat Boxing sessions / Sparring between two players and / or players and officials is strictly prohibited.
- Boxing training can continue to be a part of training sessions, provided that a set of recommendations from the AFL be applied and that all sessions are managed by suitably qualified personnel.
“These new measures have immediate application and are part of the ongoing efforts of the AFL and Clubs to protect the health and safety of the players,” AFL EGM of Football Andrew Dillon said.
“With the introduction of these new measures, the risk of this sort of incident occurring in the future will be significantly reduced.”
The announced change is part of the AFL’s continued commitment to concussion research and management, which includes its updated 2021 AFL/AFLW Concussion Guidelines which sees players sidelined for a minimum 12 days if they suffer a concussion.
The AFL is making increased investments of up to $1m a year on concussion research projects and up to $2.5m a year on a large-scale, 10-year longitudinal research project that would be multimodal in focus involving AFL and AFLW players, beginning in the talent pathway and continuing into retirement.
The also AFL recently hired two concussion focussed executives who are leading development, research, education, innovation and governance of the AFL’s ongoing concussion strategy.