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‘An accidental outcome’: Clarkson defends sparring session that left Lewis concussed

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has defended last week’s boxing session that sparked an AFL investigation after young forward Mitch Lewis was concussed when hit in the head by teammate Jacob Koschitzke.

The incident has forced Lewis out for two matches and seen Hawthorn criticised for running the sparring session that led to the injury.

Clarkson said it was a genuine accident and he thought any moves to ban boxing as part of a footballer’s program would be a “severe reaction to an accidental outcome”.

Mitch Lewis

Mitch LewisCredit:Getty Images

“These types of things happen – not on a frequent basis, but they do happen,” Clarkson said.

“Part of the things we do, whether it’s on-field or off-field, is, in actual fact, to prepare our players to protect themselves in a way that allows them to play a collision sport and do it as safely as they possibly can.

“To prepare them to do that, sometimes you have to put a little bit of risk into your training, whether that’s on-field or off-field.

“Now, we want to mitigate that risk as much as we possibly can and, in this instance, it was just a genuine accident.

“The investigation is being run by the AFL and internally within our club, but the last thing we want to do is have a player unavailable because we’ve hurt one another at training.”

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