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UPDATED: Dogs place Liberatore in concussion protocols after scary collapse, but maintain no symptoms

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13th April, 2024
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The Western Bulldogs have elected to place star midfielder Tom Liberatore into the AFL’s concussion protocols after a concerning incident in the last quarter of their loss to Essendon.

Following a series of heavy hits, albeit ones to the body rather than the head – including one from former Bulldogs teammate Jake Stringer – behind-the-goals vision at Marvel Stadium showed Liberatore staggering and then falling forwards, with opponent Darcy Parish quick to offer aid.

Controversially, the Bulldogs’ medical team did not come out onto the field to check on Liberatore following the fall, with the Dogs veteran allowed to get to his feet and play out the match.

He only passed a SCAT5 test, which is required by the AFL in all case of suspected concussion, after the match, according to the Herald Sun.

“That does not look good,” Fox Footy commentator and former player Ben Dixon said after watching the incident.

“To stagger after a contest like this… [Bulldogs doctor] Gary Zimmerman would be having a close look at that. That is troubling.”

The Bulldogs confirmed on Saturday the concerning nature of Liberatore’s collapse was sufficient to enter him into the league’s protocols, ruling him out of their Round 6 clash with St Kilda, but remain adamant he is yet to show symptoms of concussion.

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“Tom remains without concussion symptoms this morning. However, given the concerning nature of in-game footage during the final minutes that show Tom falling to the ground, the Club’s medical team has subsequently reached a decision to place him in concussion protocols,” a club statement reads.

Speaking after the match, Bulldogs coach Beveridge said the fall was nothing more sinister than Liberatore having ‘lost his footing and stumbled’.

“He’s [Liberatore] fine. For some reason he lost his footing and stumbled, but he’s fine,” Beveridge said during his post-match media conference.

“He’s being looked after and there’s no concussion or anything like that.”

Liberatore was likewise adamant he wasn’t concussed, telling ABC Radio post-match that he is symptom free and that the fall was due to an ankle injury sustained earlier in the match.

“Everything is good, I sorta came up and lost balance of my ankle,” he said.

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I tweaked my ankle just at the start of the last quarter – so you know, I relayed when I got up, I fell back down.

“I’m all fine – no symptoms and full recollection.”

Having fallen out of the eight following Friday night’s result, the 29-point loss to the Bombers has piled further pressure on the Dogs and embattled coach Luke Beveridge.

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