Concussion research approaches in community football

Concussion is an important but challenging problem at all levels of AFL, including community footy.

There are a number of tools, devices or “solutions” being offered to community clubs and leagues to help in the diagnosis and management of concussion.

Whilst the AFL strongly supports the use of these devices or tools in formalised structured research programs, many ‘solutions’ and research programs lack strong evidence and rigor for use in the assessment of head-knocks or concussion. Even those tools or devices with some evidence for their use, are not designed to be stand-alone tools for the assessment and management of concussion.

Currently, there are no commercially available tools (impact sensors, goggles, eye-tracking programs, balance apps, etc) that can be relied upon to either diagnose or exclude a concussion.

Furthermore, no tool or product should replace the need for a more comprehensive assessment by a registered doctor following head trauma and a suspected concussion.

The AFL does encourage the use of the Headcheck App ( for the initial recognition of a possible concussion injury in community football.

In addition, any player with a concussion must NOT be returned to play until they have recovered from all symptoms and signs related to the concussion; they have progressed through a graded return to play program; and have a medical clearance to return.