Today, the Greens spokesperson for Sport Senator Lidia Thorpe will be backed by the Government and Coalition when she moves a motion for an inquiry into concussion and repeated head trauma in contact sports to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs.
The following lines are attributable to Senator Lidia Thorpe:
“Repeated head trauma creates a lifelong injury. The brain is not a muscle that you can repair. Once the damage is done, it’s permanent. We need to protect our elite and community athletes, so everyone in this country can continue to celebrate the games we love.
“The Inquiry will examine concussions and repeated head trauma in contact sports at all levels, for all genders and age groups. Sportspeople at all levels must be informed about the symptoms of concussion and encouraged to speak up, without being penalised for it.
“Sports organisations need to be transparent about the evidence that informs their concussion policies. The Inquiry will investigate practices undermining recovery periods and potential risk disclosure.
“We’ll examine what physical and financial supports are available, including compensation mechanisms for players affected by the long-term impacts of concussions.
“Symptoms of repeated head trauma include cognitive impairment, impulsive behaviour, depression, suicidal thoughts, short-term memory loss, emotional instability, impulsivity and aggression. We need to look at this holistically, to protect everyone in our community.
“This country is falling behind the leadership shown by the USA and UK in this space. In the UK, this has meant that children under 11 are no longer taught to head footballs in soccer matches.
“I thank Minister for Sport Anika Wells and Senator Anne Ruston for supporting this critical work. This is urgent, and overdue.
“Noongar man Graham Farmer was one of the greatest players in AFL history. Unfortunately, he was also the first AFL player diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. We need to make sure we don’t have a new generation of athletes carrying the same injury.” Said Thorpe.
The Committee will report by 21 June 2023.