Concussed AFL and AFLW players will have to sit out at least one match after they suffer a head knock under rule changes to be introduced for this season, even if it means missing a grand final.
Players diagnosed with concussion last year often missed the following match, but a significant tightening of AFL protocols will for the first time introduce a mandatory post-concussion rest and non-playing period of about 10 or 11 days.
The league has yet to finalise the precise number of days of mandated rest before returning to play, but sources indicated it would be about 11 days. The intention is that players would comfortably miss the following match in a regular fixture after a concussion.
Under current AFL concussion protocols, introduced ahead of the 2020 season, players were unable to be considered for selection unless they passed a concussion test five days before a match but there was no rule on how long a player should be sidelined, with the AFL arguing that each case was different.