Bombers, Blues angered

ESSENDON and Carlton were last night outraged at suggestions they had mishandled players who had received serious knocks to the head at the weekend as debate over concussion resurfaced.
Nanjing Night Net

The AFL yesterday issued the Bombers with a ”please explain” after Kyle Reimers was hurt in the third quarter of Saturday night’s 71-point loss to the Saints at Etihad Stadium in a clash of heads with Tom Simpkin but returned to the field.

Essendon football manager Paul Hamilton yesterday said Reimers had not been concussed and revealed why he had remained on the ground for several minutes.

The Blues were also angry that questions had been raised about their handling of Kade Simpson after he was concussed against Collingwood on Friday night.

A groggy Simpson walked – with the aid of officials – from the field, rather than being put on a stretcher, as some claim should have been the case.

Hamilton said Reimers had not been concussed and defended club doctors Bruce Reid and Brendan De Morton.

”He didn’t have concussion. At no stage did he lose consciousness, at no stage did he have concussion,” he said. ”Even out there on the ground, as soon as the doc got out there, he asked him questions, [Reimers] had full recognition of everything. They did a series of tests. He was able to do those. All the tests they do, he passed.”

The Reimers incident came as the Bombers were assessing a hamstring injury to Michael Hurley, with speculation at the time being the club was awaiting the verdict on their key forward before determining whether Reimers would return to the field.

Hurley was subbed off and Reimers eventually played out the game.

Hamilton dismissed suggestions the Bombers would have taken any risk with Reimers.

”The only reason we kept him off the ground, if anyone asks why he wasn’t put straight back on there, he did get a knock to the eye and we were a bit concerned about his eye,” he said.

”We wanted to make sure he was 100 per cent in terms of his eye and his pupil was a bit dilated. Once that returned to normal and wasn’t a problem, he was right to go.”

Hamilton said Reimers had remained on the ground for several minutes because that had become his practice since he received a knock to the head in junior football.

”He has had a history – when he was a kid, he got a knock to his neck,” he said.

”When he gets a bad knock, he stays down. That’s more a precaution, because what happened when he was a kid, they got him straight back up to his feet. He had a sore neck for six months or something.

”He knows now when he gets a knock around the face, he stays down and he wants to make sure he is completely right. He remembers absolutely everything.”

Carlton spokesman Ian Coutts said club doctor Ben Barresi had acted in the proper manner after Simpson was crunched by Sharrod

Wellingham in the third term and had his jaw broken. A clearly groggy Simpson was helped from the field.

”Our club doctor’s absolute priority in that situation is his patient, which is the player, and what is best for the player. He did what was considered to be best for the player,” he said.

The AFL’s management of concussion handbook does not mention that concussed players should be taken from the field by stretcher.

Simpson had attempted to persuade officials at three-quarter-time that he was fit to return but he was overruled.

AFL spokesman Patrick Keane confirmed that the Bombers had been asked to explain the Reimers situation.

”How the players leave the field is really a decision we leave in the hands of the club medical staff, as the best judge of a situation at the time,” he said.

”From our point of view, Simpson remained off the field after being diagnosed with the concussion, which is the key point of the concussion guidelines, while we checked back with Essendon on the reasons why Reimers briefly went back on, and they explained them.”

Essendon great Tim Watson and Age columnist Robert Walls yesterday urged the AFL to consider introducing a substitute who could only be used to replace concussed players.

”I would like to see the AFL consider having somebody that can be activated so you can still have the three and one [bench] and maybe there is another sub that you can that can be activated under a concussion rule,” Watson said on SEN.

”But if that player is taken out of the game, he has a mandatory amount of weeks that he has to spend on the sidelines, be it maybe two weeks, so you can’t manipulate the system.”

AFL Players Association general manager player relations Ian Prendergast said he had full faith in club doctors.

”We support the AFL in relation to taking issues of concussion extremely seriously, and are waiting on further information to determine whether it requires additional follow up,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.