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How new concussion guidelines will protect your kids this weekend

Oliver Peterson
Article image for How new concussion guidelines will protect your kids this weekend

The West Australian Football Commission have adopted the National Concussion Guidelines for Australian Football at all levels of community football, meaning any player who suffers a concussion must sit out for at least 12 days. This will come into effect for fixtures this weekend.

The updated guidelines follow the recent changes to the concussion protocols at both an AFL and AFLW level, focusing on a clear process to be followed for players that have suffered concussion.

WAFC Executive Manager of Junior, Youth & Community, Troy Kirkham told Oliver Peterson this policy is all about making sure the individual’s health and well being is looked after.

“Particularly for kids, the research shows it does take longer than 12 days.

“That’s the important part about the new concussion guidelines, it’s a graduated process to return.

“For a child or some individuals it may take longer to return to play.”

After the player has sat out for 12 days, they must get medical clearance before returning. Mr Kirkham said this is a “critical” part of the new guidelines.

“We don’t want issues of follow-up impacts,” he said.

The key differences from the previous guidelines to manage concussion in Australian Football include:

  • Greater detail around the process to return to play following a concussion including allowing a brief period of complete rest, returning to symptom limited activity, returning to a graded loading program (with monitoring) and getting a medical clearance prior to returning to competitive contact sport or full-contact training.
  • The need for a more conservative approach in children and adolescents given they typically recover slower.
  • The minimum time-frame in which a player can return to play is 12 days from the day a concussion was suffered, subject to successfully completing a graded loading program and obtaining medical clearance.
  • It is clear that medical professionals will ultimately determine when a player is ready to return to full-contact training and playing.

The full document, ‘The Management of Sport-Related Concussion in Australian Football’, is available here.

The AFL-approved concussion management app HeadCheck ( should be used to recognise and assist in the management of any suspected concussion for both adults and children.

The community guidelines continue to reflect the latest medical advice on managing concussion in Australian Football and are principally about protecting the health and safety of all players. All community football leagues within Western Australia will be required to comply with the guidelines regarding the management of concussion.

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(Photo: iStock by Getty)

Oliver Peterson