Is all head high contact causing a concussion, regardless of situation or intent, soon going to be a suspension?

Will any incident causing a concussion become a suspension, regardless of the act?

  • Yes - soon (within a decade)

    Votes: 8 53.3%
  • Yes - medium term (1-2 decades)

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • Yes - long term (2+ decades)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No

    Votes: 6 40.0%

  • Total voters
    15

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theyellowsash

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This is a related but separate point to the cripps debate, so deserves it's own thread separate to that shitfight. but yes, it does involve the cripps decision.

The AFL have tried and failed for years to get the MRO system to consistently apply a standard that allows players to attack the ball, but stops them from bumping the head. And not just in a bumping motion, but also stopping players from running front on into a player bent down in an attempt to gather the ball. But they've been frequently been thwarted by the inconsistent rulings of the mro, including tonights verdict where cripps escaped on a technicality that he was never asked if he thought it was a bump or not. A technicality that can only exist because the afl has tried to define certain situations where head high contact causing a concussion is essentially allowed.

My proposition is this: With all that the afl know and continues to learn about concussion (both morally and financially threatening), are they eventually going to close these kinds of loopholes and just say "* it, you cause a concussion, it doesnt matter how or why, whether its a marking contest or a lose ball, its treated the same and is a suspension. if that means you miss a couple games here and there, bad luck". The only arguable loophole remaining would be where the player isnt immediately concussed or the cause is unclear, such as the cotchin-shiel incident, where shiel continued to play and then copped another bump from astbury which could also have caused the concussion. In that case, astbury probably would get the suspension under tighter rules (tbh im not sure why the afl didnt cite that one in the first place but i guess they had to pick between the two).

Personally i think yes, sometime within 10-15 years once theres a few big court cases or incidents. But i dont think it's going to ruin the game or remove tackles, high marks etc. Players are rarely concussed in marking contests as it is, and often its friendly fire, so players will still go for them. And few players are concussed in general play collisions either. Most concussions are in tackles and bumps, and players really only avoid suspensions in those cases based on technicalities or inconsistent applications of the rules.

in short, its going to happen, but the sky is not going to fall in.
 

Stamos

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It would ruin the game. You can't suspend players for taking reasonable actions going for the ball, where an accident follows.

The problem is being outcome focussed, rather than action.
They should be aiming to eliminate illegal dangerous actions by having harsher penalties on things like elbows and sling tackles, regardless of if a concussion results, but also acknowledge that in a contact sport, sometimes there are going to be accidents, which should not be punished.
 

theyellowsash

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It would ruin the game. You can't suspend players for taking reasonable actions going for the ball, where an accident follows.

The problem is being outcome focussed, rather than action.
They should be aiming to eliminate illegal dangerous actions by having harsher penalties on things like elbows and sling tackles, regardless of if a concussion results, but also acknowledge that in a contact sport, sometimes there are going to be accidents, which should not be punished.
And then you'll still have the argument over whether the Cripps act (or willie rioli, or cotchin on shiel) was an illegal bump or a play at the ball. That's the whole point.
 

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Farm Boy

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Once the AFL banned sliding in it meant head knocks were going to become order of the day, as players are now around shoulder and head level more often, and entering more contests with their head. The problem the AFL has, is it doesn’t have many people on board who actually understand the game of Australian Rules. This is made worse by the fact they change rules at the drop of a hat, and don’t factor in the unintended consequence of those rule changes. The Cripps suspension was on the light side I thought. He is a reckless player and does naturally enter contests that way, but he did also take his feet off the ground, and made contact so forceful that young Ah Chee went off subbed and missed a week. Hopefully he is adequately compensated in the future. I think the AFL will eventually have to be held to account. The AFL has a duty of care to the players, and it’s not upholding its end of the bargain.


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Boston tiger

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Yes and no. If the concussed player contributes to his concussion through recklessness eg running with the flight of the ball into a pack then maybe there will be situations where there is no suspension.
 

slashin_velvet

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I think it will, and I think that will be detrimental to the game overall.

I don't want to see players getting injured, but at the end of the day, it is a contact sport and some head high contact will occur.

Outcome based policing has been the biggest issue in this topic.
 

The Royal Sampler

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The AFL got bogged down in it’s own language. Everyone knows deep down, what should be outlawed and what is incidental contact. They just rearrange their perspective when it involves their club.

A “bump”, whether intended or not, looks like this:

0299c9d3ad3ea4e1ed891f6e964650f2.jpg


Body turned side on
Arm on side of contact tucked in
Momentum toward target

If the player is merely bracing for unintended contact, it looks like this:

a7978a35c4c2b30e3249eed75141599f.jpg


Body not turned
Hands open, arms extended in protective gesture
Momentum slowing or stopped

You can also add to that;
Jumping in the air which accentuates contact to head, or keeping low and ensuring contact primarily to the body.

It is entirely irrelevant whether the player involved is willing to call it a bump or not, because if they are genuinely contesting the ball they will have arms reaching out for the ball, and if it’s an off-ball collision you’ll see the protective actions that Ryder took here, rather than turning and bracing to maximise damage.
 

Big Animal

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Ignoring the Cripps incident (for 71 pages of reasons by this stage), the only thing saving the AFL from itself atm is that CTE can only be diagnosed during an autopsy.

There will come a day, probably in the not too distant future (I used to be in the lab next to the neurotrauma researchers) when they will be able to diagnose CTE and progression in the brain of a living person. Putting aside competition-crippling law suits and the effects on participation at the grass roots level, it will not be possible at that point not to have suspensions for any such incidents causing concussion and associated brain damage.

So why not treat the head as sacrosanct now rather than leaving the current situation which says to players I can give a bloke concussion with my elbow/shoulder/hip and that is ok because the tribunal keeps saying it is ok so I won't change how I play.
 
Last edited:

Area51

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The AFL have persistently proved that they are incompetent when it comes to assessment of incidents involving concussion. I think that the only way to solve this is to remove the element of judgement of the action from the equation (and from the AFL) and make it solely about the outcome. This would completely ignore the circumstances in which a concussion arose with penalties applied based on the severity of the outcome as assessed by the medical report. Some would be unlucky with accidental clashes causing concussion but it's a small price to pay compared to the ongoing concussions we have now. Yes it would change the fabric of the game but not much as people think ( I think players would still go for species for example as concussions during a marking attemp seem to be low frequency). Some of the big boys will say that it will make the game soft, but that's not the issue, the issue is one of sustainability.

It would also get rid of the ridiculous potential to cause injury charge as well as enable suspensions to commence as soon as the concussion is assessed. That means during the game so that the team with the concussed player is not disadvantaged.

People might not like the randomness of this but it would only be marginally more random than what we've got now as far as suspensions go.
 

The Royal Sampler

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It would also get rid of the ridiculous potential to cause injury charge as well as enable suspensions to commence as soon as the concussion is assessed. That means during the game so that the team with the concussed player is not disadvantaged.

People might not like the randomness of this but it would only be marginally more random than what we've got now as far as suspensions go.
I can see what you were going for, but this wouldn’t work in reality. Concussion is diagnosed using a constellation of symptoms, some of which may not present until hours or even days later, and can be intermittent or overlap with symptoms of other conditions.

Furthermore, it is possible to be concussed from a hit to the body, excluding the head entirely. So long as the force can translate to the head/neck region, and current evidence suggests rotational forces are the most dangerous, perhaps because they’re hardest to brace for.

It’s feasible to present a medical report giving an update on a player’s condition at the end of the game/evening, and further updates in the ensuing days, but “live updates” aren’t going to be possible.
 

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Arr0w

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Concussions will always happen in contact sports, especially ours that is unlike most, being 360 degrees. Concussions can happen with direct contact to a player or the ground, as well as whiplash

What the AFL should do, is come down harder on dog/non football contests like punches/elbows being thrown at the head
 

theyellowsash

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I can see what you were going for, but this wouldn’t work in reality. Concussion is diagnosed using a constellation of symptoms, some of which may not present until hours or even days later, and can be intermittent or overlap with symptoms of other conditions.

Furthermore, it is possible to be concussed from a hit to the body, excluding the head entirely. So long as the force can translate to the head/neck region, and current evidence suggests rotational forces are the most dangerous, perhaps because they’re hardest to brace for.

It’s feasible to present a medical report giving an update on a player’s condition at the end of the game/evening, and further updates in the ensuing days, but “live updates” aren’t going to be possible.
I think live updates are possible, at least when its plainly obvious (Barry Hall punches, tom steward snipes etc).

That we don't have a sendoff rule when every other sport does is idiotic and archaic.
 

iameviljez

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No, I don't think it will ever get to the point of all concussions necessarily invoking a suspension. As some have pointed out, you cannot eliminate concussion from contact sport completely.

What the AFL is doing, is eliminating acts which are vastly more likely to cause concussion - such as bumping with a high shoulder, a sling tackle, or leading with the head. You can expect that to get stricter - I have no doubt that in a couple of years, the Cripps incident would not get off on appeal. However, I cannot see a future whereas head clashes with two players going for a ground ball, or a Jonno Brown-style kamikaze jump, gets a suspension.

The reality is that with CTE now starting to come to light, and science around its prevention being very much in its infancy, all contact sports are very much reckoning with something they have no idea how to manage.
 

iameviljez

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They could always just make everyone wear helmets
Concussion and CTE is caused by the impact of the brain against the inside of the skull as the head cops whiplash. That's why car accident victims can have concussion even without a big head impact.

Helmets actually make it worse, because then players tend to lead with the head and treat their head as though it's invincible. Similar to how a lot more batsmen seem to get hit on the head now that helmets are universal in cricket.
 

theyellowsash

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No, I don't think it will ever get to the point of all concussions necessarily invoking a suspension. As some have pointed out, you cannot eliminate concussion from contact sport completely.

What the AFL is doing, is eliminating acts which are vastly more likely to cause concussion - such as bumping with a high shoulder, a sling tackle, or leading with the head. You can expect that to get stricter - I have no doubt that in a couple of years, the Cripps incident would not get off on appeal. However, I cannot see a future whereas head clashes with two players going for a ground ball, or a Jonno Brown-style kamikaze jump, gets a suspension.

The reality is that with CTE now starting to come to light, and science around its prevention being very much in its infancy, all contact sports are very much reckoning with something they have no idea how to manage.
Honesty that's where I'd want it to end up. Acts like Cripps where he hits a basically stationary player from behind being a suspension, regardless of whether it was a bump or not. Even marking contests where a player flies in from the front (rioli) or puts a knee in the back of a head, being an automatic suspension. Because really, how many mark of the year contenders (ler alone winners) resulted in a concussion? We'll still see big marks, you're just liable if you go in knee first and cave in someone's skull.

But then conversely if 2 players happen to collide coming from opposite directions and they are both moving (compares to ahchee where he was barely moving), thats just an unfortunate accident.

The problem i see is that as soon as there is any grey area, it can be contested and thats what the afl will eventually need to eliminate. The o ly way to eliminate any argument about whether a player is at fault, is to remove the grey area to a simple yes/no equation.

We have the lawyers to thank for that. Dont blame the afl or the mro, blame the lawyers who search for any minute wedge case to get a player off. I'm sure they'd be combing the documents for a typo to use to void a case as well.
 

The Royal Sampler

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Concussion and CTE is caused by the impact of the brain against the inside of the skull as the head cops whiplash. That's why car accident victims can have concussion even without a big head impact.
You’re right, but just to add a little on the difference between concussion (and post-concussive syndrome) and CTE…

There is a growing body of evidence that CTE is caused by exposure to a high number of “sub-concussive” impacts, rather than a smaller number of concussive episodes.

NFL linemen bumping helmets with more of a glancing blow as they stand up at the snap of the ball, or repeated heading of the ball in soccer (soccer administrators in the UK have removed heading in training for juniors). Again, helmets don’t protect against this, but the blows to the head can be more minor than a whallop which knocks you out. It can be thought of as “exposure” to head trauma, much like exposure to second-hand smoke, or radiation from cell phone towers.
 

theyellowsash

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You’re right, but just to add a little on the difference between concussion (and post-concussive syndrome) and CTE…

There is a growing body of evidence that CTE is caused by exposure to a high number of “sub-concussive” impacts, rather than a smaller number of concussive episodes.

NFL linemen bumping helmets with more of a glancing blow as they stand up at the snap of the ball, or repeated heading of the ball in soccer (soccer administrators in the UK have removed heading in training for juniors). Again, helmets don’t protect against this, but the blows to the head can be more minor than a whallop which knocks you out. It can be thought of as “exposure” to head trauma, much like exposure to second-hand smoke, or radiation from cell phone towers.
And you were doing so well