Head knocks could force retirement, says Cat coach

HEADS UP: Dale Amos at the Cats' press conference this week. Picture: Reg Ryan 94720

CONCERN over brain injuries from concussions could finish an AFL player’s career, Geelong Cats assistant coach Dale Amos has conceded.
But Amos said he believed clubs would be able to manage the medical concerns to save players careers.
“I’d like to hope that we are in a position where clubs can manipulate the way through the situation, where they manage it as well as they possibly can so that it doesn’t come to that,” he said.
“But there’s every possibility that it may happen Whatever precautions can be put in play, whatever test it is, whatever treatment we need to provide, whatever lay-off is required for players to be looked after, that’s what will be done.”
Fears of the long-term effects of concussion were renewed with news former Geelong, Sydney and Carlton Brownlow Medallist Greg Williams revealed his struggles with a degenerative brain condition, affecting his memory and moods.
Williams blamed a career filled with head knocks before singling out Cats captain Joel Selwood as a likely future victim of the condition because of the way he plays.
Medical studies have indicated a link between repeated concussions and brain degeneration.
Amos said the Cats’ medical staff utilised “world’s-best practice” when dealing with head injuries.
“We trust what they do and trust they’re accessing the people within the industry and outside who have experience on those matters.
“We have consulted very closely with the players and our medical staff are very thorough in the process they go through.”
Amos said the process for dealing with head injury was strict.
“You just can’t cheat the system anymore. The tests are in place, the medical staff go above and beyond what is required to tick the player off and ensuring the players are in a fit state to perform.
“Clubs are heavily invested in player welfare and making sure that comes first in all situations. There’s no compromise and there’s no shortcuts, with head injury in particular.”
Amos said the club was unable to change the way Selwood played.
“We all admire Joel and we certainly don’t want that to go out of the way he plays the game.
“He’s captain of our footy club for a reason, he leads by example.”