As finals excitement sweeps local footy clubs across the country, Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) is urging all clubs to ensure they are up to date with the AFL concussion guidelines for community football.
With emotions often running high during the hectic finals season, clubs need to make sure they are equipped to manage any concussions or suspected concussions that may occur during a finals match.
SMA Community Education Manager and AFL Sports Trainer Dana Pimley said all clubs should be aware of the AFLís community concussion guidelines and have personnel on hand trained in the recognition and management of concussion.
"Extreme caution should be exercised when it comes to the management of concussion," Ms Pimley said.
"This goes not just for the coaches, club officials and sports trainers but the players themselves.
"While itís easy to get carried away in the pursuit of a premiership, what we donít want to see are players, particularly juniors, jeopardising their health by trying to play on after a head knock.
"Any player suspected of concussion should immediately be assessed, removed from play and receive an urgent medical assessment.
"There should be a trained first aider present at every game, and at all times players, parents, coaches and trainers need to act in the best interest of player safety and take responsibility for the recognition, removal and referral of players to a medical doctor."
Ms Pimley said under no circumstances should a player displaying signs of concussion be allowed to return to the field.
"A concussed player must then receive a formal medical clearance before being allowed to return to school, or return to training or playing,Ē Ms Pimley said.
"The message is simple - if in doubt, sit them out Ė regardless of whether or not the player proclaims to be 'fine'."
The Western Australian branch of SMA has developed a comprehensive set of community concussion management guidelines and resources through the Concussion in Sport Education project. For more information visit http://concussioninsportproject.com.au/
For the full set of AFL community concussion guidelines visit: http://aflcommunityclub.com.au/index.php?id=66