DUNNSTOWN footballer Troy Mullane has backed Carlton coach Mick Malthouse’s call for a rethink on helmets to protect players from concussion.
The 25-year-old, who will return to football this year after three years away from the game due to multiple concussions, said he would support making helmets compulsory for players if it can be proved they can prevent concussion and other forms of head injury.
But Mullane was not sure if helmets currently available would have prevented the concussions he suffered three times in a five-week period three years ago.
However, Mullane said he was considering wearing a helmet this season, regardless.
“If they can prove its going to be a benefit from it then I’m all for it (being compulsory),” Mullane said yesterday.
“I haven’t decided whether I will wear one but I think I probably will. I’ve looked up some information on helmets myself and some experts have said they might prevent a fractured skull but won’t stop concussion.”
Malthouse yesterday said attitudes to head knocks had changed enormously, including his own.
“You used to say to blokes: ‘Grow up, get out there again,’” he said.
The league said its current medical advice is that there is no definitive evidence that helmets prevent concussion or brain injuries but Malthouse tipped that will change with advancing technology and it will come down to whether the AFL is willing to accept it.
“It’s going to have to come back at some stage to the medical people to say: ‘We’ve now developed this (helmet) model that can fit over the head that softens the blow,’” Malthouse said.
“That will come along at some stage. We’ll accept it or we’ll say: ‘No, our game was built without it and we don’t want it.’”
Mullane said he was unlucky with his own concussion injuries but insisted it should be mandatory for players who had suffered a concussion to not return to the field for at least two weeks.
“I was unlucky enough to be concussed three times in five weeks,” he explained.
“The first time was when I tackled someone and he landed on me. The second one I tried to get between two guys and my head pinballed off one guy’s head and then off the other guy’s head. I had a week off with concussion and then, when I came back, my arms got pinned and I just got flung to the ground.
“I went to a specialist and he said if you get concussed and you don’t get it healed properly, that’s when it’s worse. It takes two weeks for the brain swelling to come down, so maybe there should be a rule that if you are concussed you have to have a week off. It wasn’t damage from the first one that did the damage, it was the subsequent ones that did it.”
- with AAP