Sports

Study finds post-concussion break from footy should be longer than 12 days


Wright said he wanted to emphasise that the sample was small and related to comparisons of data gathered on the groups. He said the AFL was working towards resolving many issues surrounding sports related concussion, but the findings reinforced the need for careful consideration of the return to play protocols.

The AFL are continuing to work on improving player safety and investing in research around concussion.

“The health and safety of all our players is of paramount importance. The AFL introduced return to play guidelines that provide for a minimum 12-day rest and rehabilitation period and provides a medically monitored process of rest, clinical recovery and then a slow graded return to play for all players,” an AFL spokesperson said.

The Monash findings published in the Sports Medicine Open journal supported a study Wright published in the journal Cerebral Cortex last year which showed clear signs of changes indicative of white matter injury in the brains when MRIs were conducted on concussed players two weeks after their concussion.

[There is] tight regulation between supply of energy to the brain and the energy consumption in the brain and after concussion that regulation gets disrupted. You have a period of decreased blood flow [and] that disruption persists for some time.

Associate Professor David Wright

Sheppard, who played 216 games with West Coast, told SEN WA last week he thought the AFL should mandate a 28-day rest period. He missed the Eagles’ 2018 premiership after suffering a hamstring injury in that year’s qualifying final.

“The thing is, concussion in a sense is the silent killer. It’s not so much like a knee where you understand you might do your medial (ligament), it’s a month, or your hamstring, it’s a month,” Sheppard said.

“With concussion you can (get out there and play). I’m more of the awareness for individuals to understand what the symptoms are of a concussion.

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“The reason why I say prolong it to 28 days because as an athlete you might feel right to go the week after or two weeks after, but it’s the risk of getting another knock that has longer-term consequences.

“Not just a concussion knock that you get knocked out from, but it’s more the sub-concussive knocks. So just your glancing blows.”

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