“Not just a head knock”: Greens persist with push for new concussion rules after AFL ruling

Australian Greens

After the AFL Tribunal’s ruling in the Brayshaw-Maynard case this week, the Greens are calling on the Commonwealth to urgently act on the recommendations of the Senate Committee on Community Affairs’ report into concussions and repeated head trauma in contact sports.

Reporting in the Guardian, the Australian, the ABC and other outlets this week highlight the immense human toll of repeated head trauma in sport. Anita Frawley, the widow of former player Danny Frawley, and former AFL player and player safety advocate Shaun Smith among others have expressed disbelief and concern about the recent ruling.

The Senate Committee was unanimous that we need a national strategy to care better for sports players at all levels. A national strategy is core to preventing and understanding the impact and extent of concussion on Australian sports players.

As stated by Chair of the Committee, Senator Janet Rice:

“A concussion is not just a head knock.

“The Senate’s inquiry into concussion heard from medical experts, former players, and their families, with resounding concerns that professional sport codes aren’t currently taking concussions and head injuries seriously.

“It is sickening to see concussion incidents like the one that Angus Brayshaw suffered, especially after the testimony heard by the Committee about the potential lifetime impacts of concussion events like this, on players and their loved ones.

“I respect the Tribunal’s decision in this matter as it is an independent body, but there is no doubt about the seriousness of the concussion that Brayshaw sustained and the potential lifetime consequences of concussions like this.

“The way the AFL and other professional codes deal with this kind of collision will undoubtedly have to change as the sporting community continues to deal with concussion and CTE.

“I urge the government to take the Committee’s report very seriously and quickly move to implement its recommendations.

“The Greens support the development of a no fault insurance scheme for sports injuries.

“It is time for the Commonwealth to step up.”

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