Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes has criticised the AFL for the confusion surrounding its concussion protocols after the league overruled Adelaide’s club doctors and forced Tom Doedee to sit out of its Round 18 match.
Doedee was subbed out of Adelaide’s Round 17 match against Essendon on Friday, July 9 after a front-on clash with Bombers forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.
After Doedee was initially thought to have been concussed in the clash, with Crows coach Matthew Nicks revealing that the defender was left with “blurred vision”, Adelaide later deemed that he was not concussed, and had suffered a sternum injury instead, meaning he would not have to serve the AFL’s mandatory 12-day concussion protocol.
However, the AFL did not allow Doedee to line up against West Coast in Round 18, overruling Adelaide’s diagnosis in the belief that the defender still displayed concussion symptoms, leaving both the player and the club scratching their heads.
“To be honest, since probably 30 minutes after the incident I felt fine,” Doedee told 9News Adelaide last week.
“Besides a bit of chest pain from having [Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s] knee driven into it pretty deeply, I’m pretty good.
“I was told that I’m probably in the protocol and can’t play, that’s where the anger came from because I feel so good.”
Cornes was also left baffled by the call and warned that such an act from the AFL could result in dire consequences if it occurs in the upcoming finals series, the first finals series since the AFL implemented its concussion protocols.
“It’s so confusing and because Adelaide are in 16th it sort of flies under the radar,” he told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“This could be a big story come finals time. I can’t imagine what this would be, it would end up in court if this was a player missing a grand final.
“How can the AFL overrule [Crows club doctor] Dr. [Marc] Cesana who spends day-in, day-out with these players? Are they saying he’s not qualified to know his player and diagnose him with concussion?
“What happens in a prelim final if this is Patrick Dangerfield for instance, who has never won a premiership, has an incident, the club says he’s not fine, he’s not concussed but he’s injured, and the AFL on Wednesday or Thursday come out and say, ‘No, we’re overruling him, he’s not playing in a grand final’.”
Veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson said she was “amazed” by the AFL’s call on Doedee.
“Did the AFL overrule it because of the optics?” she asked.
“It’s the club doctor’s job [to determine if a player is concussed or not], but in the past they’ve overruled club doctors and there have been inquiries into concussion incidents involving players, but I’m amazed.
“Are they saying that the Adelaide doctor is being dishonest?”