STRONGER concussion protocols have been announced by the AFL, which affect country league football.

In the announcement, the AFL said it would retain their mandatory 12-day return-to-play concussion protocol at AFL level yet would enforce prolonged periods for any level below AFL or AFLW.

The decision sees concussions at any level below AFL or AFLW level must administer to a 21-day return-to-play protocol. To clarify, a player would be able to return to play on the 21st day at the earliest, meaning they would miss two weeks of football.

Not only does this include VFL and VFLW, but also the Gippsland League, North Gippsland Football-Netball League, and Mid Gippsland FNL.

The AFL’s new protocols align with the recommendations made by the Australian Institute of Sport’s Concussion and Brain Health Position Statement regarding concussion guidelines.

From a local perspective, it begs the question: how will it be enforced at a country level?

Conversations with AFL Gippsland would suggest that it would be put on the clubs to administer to someone would has received a head knock, meaning concussion training will be expected to be essential across all clubs.

From there, players would be checked by a medical professional as soon as possible, and if they have suffered a concussion, they would enter concussion protocols.

It is understood that clubs from the Gippsland League, NGFNL, and MGFNL have, or will, undergo meetings with AFL Gippsland to better understand the situation.

More to come.