When discussing concussion, use your head, not your heart
I am astonished at the furore around the Jack Ziebell suspension. Many involved with the game will have you believe the suspension is the beginning of the end for the AFL.
It’s not that I don’t have sympathy that Jack misses football for a couple of weeks for what probably was an accident, but the greater worry here is the hysteria regarding the wellbeing of the game.
Where is the same emotion regarding the wellbeing of players?
Last night on a football television program, an AFL club president mockingly referred to a medical report by a club doctor as listing Joseph as “clinically dead” in regards to his concussion. This was a very irresponsible attempt at humour.
Do we want to discourage players owning up to symptoms of concussion for fear of media attention?
Concussion surely shouldn’t be so flippantly referred to as some kind of exaggerated injury. It certainly wouldn’t hurt for someone to bring some balance to the outcry and acknowledge the AFL’s attempts to lessen it’s occurrence in the game as commendable.
Even after it was widely reported that an American concussion expert recently described AFL as a sport with a “very high risk for brain trauma”, and highlighted the subsequent health issues, there is still this overwhelming stigma out there towards penalising head high contact. Why?
Thankfully, those so emotionally invested are not in control of the game. If the powers that be down at AFL house decided to make decisions based on emotion and outdated notions of toughness, we’d likely see even more guys retire due to the risk of ‘just one more knock’. We would see even more players making regular trips to brain specialists because of alarming instances of brain pain and other severe side effects.
A guy left the ground to contest a handball and subsequently hit the player in the head.
Accident or otherwise, this just simply isn’t allowed, so why are clubs taking so long to absorb this?
Emotive coaches and media personalities will have you believe that such suspensions will now happen with alarming regularity, but this ignores the fact that the head has been sacrosanct for some time now.
The majority of players have modified their technique accordingly and we have seen very few incidents.
Brad Scott called the suspension a “sad day for football” at one of his pressers this week. No Brad, that terminology should be reserved for cases such as former Crow Scott Stevens retiring last year due to the after affects of concussion.
Stand back, take a deep breath, and realise that protecting the head is one of the initiatives the AFL should be applauded for.