The AFL has issued the Port Adelaide Football Club with a $100,000 sanction after breaching AFL Concussion protocols. An amount of $50,000 (50%) will be included in the club’s Football Department soft cap with the balance ($50,000) outside the soft cap unless a similar breach occurs prior to the end of the AFL and AFLW seasons next year.
The sanction was determined by the AFL after the club was issued a please explain regarding the concussion protocol management of Aliir Aliir, specifically in relation to the Club’s decision not to undertake a SCAT5 concussion test following the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) that occurred during the second quarter of Saturday night’s showdown at Adelaide Oval. Aliir returned to play after the initial HIA without a SCAT5 being undertaken.
Additionally, AFL Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael Makdissi will, prior to this weekend’s match involving PAFC, conduct a review of the incident involving Aliir in last week’s match with the Port Adelaide medical staff which will include a focus on the AFL Concussion Protocols.
The AFL will also conduct a further review of the incident to identify learnings for PAFC and the broader industry noting the AFL and AFLW Concussion Management Guidelines are reviewed and updated annually.
The AFL will also write to all clubs this week reminding them of the requirements of the AFL Concussion Management Guidelines.
PAFC has been sanctioned under AFL Rule 2.3(a) which prohibits conduct which is unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the AFL or to bring the game of football into disrepute.
AFL General Counsel Stephen Meade said the club understood the error of judgement made on the night and took full responsibility for it.
“The AFL Concussion Protocols are some of the most stringent that exist in world sport, however they require strict and consistent adherence to protect the health and safety of our players,” Mr Meade said.
“In this instance Port Adelaide admitted that Aliir should have undergone SCAT5 testing at the time immediately following the collision on Saturday night. By not undertaking the test, and Aliir returning to the game without being subject to that further detailed assessment, Allir’s wellbeing was potentially at increased risk.
“The health and safety of all players is paramount, and this will continue to be the focus for our clubs and for the AFL.
“AFL Club doctors are some of the most accomplished sports medicine professionals in the world, they have intimate knowledge of their players, and while in this instance there was an error in the club’s process, it shouldn’t undermine the work our club doctors undertake, and the care shown to everyone at their football clubs.
“I would like to acknowledge the cooperation of Port Adelaide Football Club regarding this incident and the pro-active approach from the club in assisting the AFL in this matter and the planned further review.”
The Port Adelaide Football Club has put Aliir into AFL Concussion protocols and he will be unable to participate in the club’s Round 21 match this week vs the Geelong Cats at a minimum.
Port Adelaide player Lachie Jones, who was involved in the collision with Aliir, is also in AFL Concussion protocols.
Both players will need to undertake and medically pass the mandatory 11-step, minimum 12-day process before returning to play. The AFL’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael Makdissi will continue to liaise with Port Adelaide Football Club doctors in the monitoring both player’s progress.
The AFL worked with and were supported by the AFLPA in relation to the sanction.
Mr Meade said the AFL will continue to review the AFL Concussion Protocols as it does every year, and the further Port Adelaide review will assist with ensuring best practice in concussion management is maintained in our industry both in prevention and treatment.
“Our work never stops in protecting the health and safety of everyone playing Australian Football, and as the science and professional medical advice evolves so will the protocols.”
Under the AFL Concussion Management Guidelines, when some signs of concussion are seen (e.g. loss of consciousness, no protective action in fall to ground and impact seizure or tonic posturing) either directly or on review of the HawkEye video, there is immediate removal from play and no return and the player enters concussion protocols.
When there are possible signs of concussion observed either directly or in the review of the HawkEye video, the player must be immediately removed and must undertake further assessment including SCAT5.
Head Injury Assessment (HIA) is a rapid sideline screening tool for a suspected concussion. Subject to the observations made in the HIA a SCAT5 may be undertaken.
The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 5th edition (SCAT5) is a standardised tool for evaluating in more detail a suspected concussion. When a player is removed from the field of play for a SCAT5 test, the AFL Interchange Official must be notified and the player cannot return to the playing surface for at least 15 minutes (including quarter breaks) after this notification. The 15-minute time-period facilitates medical assessment as it allows the SCAT5 to be completed in a quiet, distraction-free environment with the player in a resting state. At the completion of the SCAT5 the player may be diagnosed with a concussion or it may be determined that it is safe for them to return to play.
If a player enters AFL Concussion Protocols, they need to undertake and medically pass the mandatory 11-step, minimum 12-day process before returning to play.
Medically trained concussion spotters are in the AFL Review Centre closely monitoring every AFL and AFLW match. They operate as an additional set of eyes to assist club doctors in spotting any potential head clash and if not that player is not already being medically consulted by one of the clubs doctors they alert the club doctor via the bench.