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NRL in no rush to follow AFL lead on concussion protocols

February 08, 2021

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NRL in no rush to follow AFL lead on concussion protocols

The NRL recently announced that it will not rush to follow the AFL’s mandatory 12-day stand down period following a concussion.

The AFL (Australian Football League) has imposed a mandatory 12-day stand down period following a concussion but the NRL (National Rugby League) has resisted pressure to follow suit due to the fact that they argue some players and coaches could cover up head injuries so that they do not have to miss any games.

The NRL’s chief executive Andrew Abdo said “I can’t say that there will definitely be a mandatory period. That in itself has some risk attached to it around the behaviours and choices individuals might make. We don’t want to be in a situation where players or coaches are making decisions based on whether or not a player is going to miss matches. We will not want to have that as a potential deterrent to any system. We need to carefully think through what our policy is to make sure our policy is to make sure there is not unintended consequences.” Last season the NRL came under significant criticism for its approach to concussion as several individuals were seen returning to play after suffering head injuries.

This season AFL and AFLW players will miss at least one match if they suffer a concussion, with the new protocols being introduced after it was found that former players had suffered from CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), the degenerative brain disease. Abdo added that the NRL will wait for more medical evidence before introducing new protocols “We are absolutely going to look at the best possible practice as to how concussion is treated and make sure that everything we are doing is in the interest of player safety and welfare. We are going to get the best help that we can from the experts and any changes will be presented to the (ARL) Commission for their views and their consideration ahead of the season. But it won’t be anything in the next couple of days. We are quite a few weeks away from that.”

You can read the AFL statement here.

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