AFL Executive General Manager of Football Andrew Dillon has today advised all 18 clubs that after 25 years of AFL industry service, Dr Peter Harcourt has decided to step back from the role of AFL Chief Medical Officer at the end of October.

"Peter's contribution to football in the medical space has been second to none, leading our game through a significant period of growth and professionalism whilst continuing to prioritise player and industry health and welfare." Mr Dillon said.

Dr Harcourt will continue to consult to the AFL on a part time basis and focus his efforts across Anti-Doping, Concussion, and further research.

Mr Dillon has also announced the AFL's current Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael Makdissi will move into the Chief Medical Officer role from the 1st November 2021.

Dr Makdissi has been the deputy Chief Medical officer for the AFL since 2020 and the team Doctor at the Hawthorn Football Club since 2005.

His academic achievements include a Fellowship, Australasian College of Sports Physicians, a Doctor of Philosophy and a Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (University of Melbourne). 

His extensive research appointments include Research fellow, La Trobe University Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora; Research fellow, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne Brain Centre (Austin Campus); University of Melbourne. He is also Research fellow, Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne

He has wide-ranging experience across many sports and in additional to his 15 years at Hawthorn and 10 years as part of the AFL Academy (10 years), Michael held medical positions for the Australian team at the Commonwealth Games (Delhi, Glasgow, Gold Coast) and the Olympic Games in 2012 (London).

Dr Michael Makdissi, Jarryd Roughead and Hawks football boss Chris Fagan at a media conference in 2016. Picture: AFL Photos

"Michael's qualifications are world class and his experience across professional sporting organisations, teams and leagues, paired with his time working closely with Peter as deputy has him well equipped to lead the AFL's medical endeavours."

"On behalf of the AFL, I congratulate Michael on his new appointment and thank Peter for 25 years of dedicated service to the AFL industry."

The AFL Chief Medical Officer role will continue to work within the AFL Football Operations Team, led by Executive General Manager Football Andrew Dillon and be supported by the AFL Healthcare team.

The AFL Healthcare team comprises the following people:

  • Rachel Elliott – Head of Healthcare Governance & Concussion
  • Dr Michael Makdissi – AFL Chief Medical Officer
  • Dr Anik Shawdon – AFL Pathways, Community football, Research
  • Dr Phillipa Inge – AFLW, Concussion: Past Players Program, Research, Indigenous Health
  • Dr David Bolzonello – Umpire Health
  • Dr Peter Harcourt – Anti-Doping, Concussion, Research