Connectivity and WAFC sign MoU tackling the issue of concussion

Connectivity and the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC) have signed an MoU to tackle the issue of concussion in Football across Western Australia.

“We are increasingly becoming aware of the consequences of concussion, especially in a sporting context,” said Connectivity Traumatic Brain Injury Australia CEO, jointly appointed by Curtin University and the Perron Institute’s Professor Lindy Fitzgerald.

“Connectivity is excited to be working with the WAFC to help the players, stakeholders and community deepen their understanding and improve management of concussion. It is the perfect fit to collaborate on such a level that will raise awareness, connect and educate, and most importantly improve player health.”

The WAFC will work collaboratively with Connectivity to raise awareness of concussion and educate our football stakeholders and community whilst also ensuring that we remain at the forefront of concussion research and best practice.

The WAFC acknowledges concussion is a significant issue facing the football industry and is determined to develop clear strategies that aim to support and protect all participants within the game.

The WAFC will also undertake a comprehensive review of all aspects of Concussion Management to ensure that as a game we continue to drive and embed best practice across the core pillars of:

  • Concussion Management Protocols
  • Community Education & Awareness
  • Concussion Tracking & Monitoring processes
  • Return to Play Protocols
  • Rules & Regulations, and Laws of the Game

The review will incorporate input and feedback from key experts in the field, including Connectivity, AFL Sports Physicians (including the AFL Chief Medical Officer), Community Health Education & Awareness experts, Legal Practitioners (specialising in concussion), and a range of concussion specialists across various fields.  The outcomes of this review will help guide the development of an all-encompassing concussion strategy to support the game at all levels.

The WAFC intends to be a leader in this space. It believes reducing the incidence of concussion and ensuring best practice management will continue to protect the code and importantly all our participants in the long term.

The review will also consider:

  • The development of significant and meaningful player, coach and umpire education, including access to an online concussion short course and the continued rollout of videos and collateral highlighting the rules around dangerous tackles and head high contact.
  • Investigating the feasibility of introducing baseline SCAT5 testing at WAFL clubs for all players.
  • Review of penalties and deterrents for dangerous and head high tackles, including “the potential to cause serious injury” clause at the WAFL Match Review Panel.
  • Player education on concussion, dangerous tackles and head high tackles.
  • Review of the card system across all levels of football, including the WAFL.
  • Ensuring consistency across the industry through alignment to the AFL Concussion Guidelines and AFL Health Care Governance Department.
  • Formalising an approach to track and manage concussions, including return to play concussion checklists.

WAFC CEO Michael Roberts, welcomed the MoU with Connectivity highlighting that “through a collaborative approach the WAFC is ensuring that we continue to prioritise the health and safety of the participants in the game.”

“The comprehensive review into all aspects of what we do as an industry, will ensure that we implement best practice principles, processes and policies that support all stakeholders across the game.”

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