AFL to consider changes to concussion rules after Shane Tuck inquest

Julian Miller
By: Julian Miller
25/03/2024
News
BettingTop10 News
Shane Tuck report sparks AFL to consider new concussion rules

The Victoria coroner's report had concluded that the AFL’s concussion rules need a complete overhaul after Shane Tuck death. 

News Insights

  • Shane Tuck’s shock death led to an exhaustive coroner's report in Victoria.
  • Tuck played 173 games for Richmond.
  • The Victoria coroner's report has determined the AFL needs to update its concussion rules.
  • The AFL has pledged to update its concussion rules.

The AFL has pledged to update its concussion protocols following a landmark report into the death of former Richmond player Shane Tuck. The league will review its current rules and consider which new ones should be adopted. Notably, the league will consider whether to add independent doctors to match days for the purpose of performing concussion assessments.  

Tuck death sparks inquest

After Shane Tuck committed suicide in 2020, the the Australian Sports Brain Bank determined that the former Richmond player had suffered from an extreme case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease better known as CTE. In the following years, Tuck’s family sued the AFL for failure to protect players from dangerous head injuries. 
 
All this led up to the Victoria coroner’s office conducting a landmark assessment into AFL head injuries and what the sport can do better to protect its players. The report, which was released over three months ago, found that the AFL needs to update its concussion rules and training practices. 
 
Specifically, the report suggested that the AFL limit the number of full contact training sessions and use independent, unbiased doctors to perform concussion assessments.  
 
In response to the report back in December, the AFL said “The AFL has a team of people specifically working on initiatives to improve brain health in our sport. We will continue to strengthen protocols and the education of clubs and players as to why this issue is taken so seriously.” 
 
The AFL Players’ Association also responded. AFLPA legal general manager Megan Comerford said, “We look forward to discussing the coroner’s recommendations in more detail with the AFL. It remains clear that more work needs to be done to protect, care for and support current and past players who have, and will continue to, put their bodies on the line so the industry can prosper” 
 
Tuck’s wife, Renee, said “Shane hadn’t been himself for a long time, but we didn’t know what CTE was then. We also had just unknowingly entered a battle that we had no chance of winning.

AFL takes on concussion issues

The AFL announced this week that it plans on finally addressing the Victorian coroner’s report with concrete changes.  
 
In a statement issued on Monday, the AFL says it is currently implementing the report’s recommendation of limiting the number of full contact practices. The league also says it is “considering the recommendation that the AFL appoint independent doctors to attend all AFL and ALFW games.” 
 
The AFL also says “it is implementing the Coroner’s various recommendations addressing education on concussion and repeated head trauma” and that it “has and continues to work with the AFLPA in the development, review, continuous improvement and delivery of educational material to AFL players and team staff.” 

AFL General Counsel Stephen Meade said, “The AFL continues to invest in, and support, research into concussion and repeated head trauma, including supporting the use of instrumented mouthguards by players, encouraging brain donation, and investing in the AFL Brain Health Initiative longitudinal research program.” 

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