The AFL Players’ Association is calling upon all past players to complete its concussion study survey which was circulated to its past player database in mid-June.
500 former players have completed this survey since it was established and while the initial response was strong, an article published in The Age earlier this year revealed some significant gaps in the data, including only a limited response from retirees from the 1990s and 2000s.
A player whose career spanned almost the entirety of both these decade brackets is Matthew Richardson; the former Tiger spoke to the Herald Sun today and revealed his concern for the heavy head knocks he’s suffered during his career.
“I had a couple where I was completely knocked out. I had a couple of concussions and broken cheek bones on each side,” explains Richardson.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen, I feel fine now and I don’t have any lingering effects, but it does get you wondering about the future and whether there will be any side-effects.”
“it does get you wondering about the future and whether there will be any side-effects.” – Matthew Richardson
Richardson’s interview highlights the importance of the survey and further research into head injuries suffered playing our game.
There are approximately 5600 living VFL/AFL alumni, with just 2500 currently registered with the AFL Players’ Association – and therefore having access to this survey.
Completed responses contribute data to an AFL-wide concussion study as part of a multimillion-dollar project tailor-made for Australian football in conjunction with the largest brain research group in the southern hemisphere, the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.
If a player’s responses are deemed by the Florey Institute to benefit from a follow-up assessment they will be contacted and a fully-funded brain scan may be offered.
The ‘PA implores as many past players as possible to complete this survey as a way of gaining a greater understanding of the long-term effects concussion can have. It will help in informing future rules and guidelines that ensure the safety of current and future players remains paramount.
If you know of any former AFL/VFL players who are not registered with the Players’ Association, the Players’ Association asks that you encourage them to contact Alumni Manager – Brad Fisher at email@example.com or (08) 8651 4300.
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Support for AFL Players: If you are a current or past AFL Player and would like to know more about our specialised wellbeing and mental health services please contact the AFL Players’ at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. 03-8651 4300 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 5pm).