AFL Tasmania says concussion discussion a top priority

Ethan Stephenson.

Ethan Stephenson.

Concussion on the football field has become a topic of urgency for AFL Tasmania following the recent head injury to Devonport teenager Ethan Stephenson. 

That’s the opinion of AFL Tasmania chief executive Rob Auld who said while it was challenging to know which direction to move in, the discussion was certainly on the radar. 

The comments follow the serious head injury of Devonport Magpies player Ethan Stephenson who remains in the Royal Hobart Hospital in a critical but stable condition. 

The 19-year-old from Latrobe was airlifted to the Hobart last Saturday after suffering a head knock during a match at Ulverstone, where he underwent four hours of surgery for a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.

Mr Auld said regulations were in place but before any changes were discussed, more findings would have to made. 

Ethan Stephenson in action for Devonport.

Ethan Stephenson in action for Devonport.

“We do have a resource which is really quite powerful on the AFL [Tasmania] website under the community club section. 

“There’s a whole updated section on concussion and we’ve made that known and available to all clubs.

“We are starting to treat concussion significantly more seriously because of medical research and understanding.”

The idea of wearing helmets on the field has long been discussed and while Mr Auld wasn’t sold on the idea, he was certain AFL Tasmania would take it into consideration. 

“That’s an interesting one because the evidence or the data and research is quite divided in that space.

“It’s not certain that they actually have much of a benefit, I’m not saying they don’t, but if the experts are still working through it then it’s difficult to legislate or put a rule or regulation in place. 

“It’s just an incredibly important but also quite challenging topic given that the knowledge of it is becoming more and more part of the conversation.” 

A fundraising event will be held for the family on Saturday, August 26 at the Latrobe Memorial Hall, hosted by football identity Ricky Nixon.