Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is adamant Power players Tom Jonas and Zak Butters had no concussion problems after they collided heavily in the team’s AFL loss to Richmond last night.
Most important points:
- Port players Zak Butters and Tom Jonas clashed late in the tight game against Richmond
- The Power had already used their medical sub and were only two on the couch when the duo was free
- Both players returned to the field heavily bandaged but did not undergo concussion protocols
Warning: This story contains graphics.
Port’s management of the two players immediately after they left the ground will definitely come under AFL control.
It’s the main talking point of the 12-point loss to Richmond at the MCG.
Hinkley defended veteran club doctor Mark Fisher, who continued to ask questions after the game about how Port was handling the situation.
Jonas and Butters returned to the field with bandaged faces just minutes after what Hinkley himself called “a hit”, although Butters had to go to the bench for further treatment towards the end of the game.
It was Fisher’s appeal not to allow the two players to undergo 20-minute concussion protocols.
The collision and its aftermath have rekindled the discussion in the AFL about concussion, which is a major problem in world sport.
But Hinkley said the two players did not have concussions, adding that he spoke to them immediately after the game.
“They both got beat up… (but) they didn’t lay down and they didn’t pass out, they didn’t do anything crazy, they spoke to me very clearly – ‘aw mate, I’m going to have a big black eye, but I’m fine good,” said Hinkley.
“They are also tough players… that’s a bull’s eye, for those who don’t find the game difficult.”
Hinkley made it clear that he has complete confidence in Fisher and team football manager Chris Davies, who were sitting on the bench as the two bloodied players left the field.
“I have a doctor who has been with our football club for 25 years and the conversation between our doctor and our football manager… were these guys, they have no problem with a concussion,” Hinkley said.
“So if anyone has a challenge in that, and they feel more qualified than Mark Fisher… feel free.
“But I think you have to be very, very sure that you don’t try to referee or try to call anything from outside the perimeter if you don’t have any knowledge.”
Hinkley gasped when asked if further assessment would have been made if the collision had occurred earlier in the match.
“Do you think a 25-year-old doctor would take a risk with a concussion, with the severity of the injuries now associated with a concussion? … Do you want him to go back to medical school?” he said
Hinkley was also asked if he expected an AFL investigation into the matter.
“I expect they will ask questions about a lot of things – injuries, incidents, everything,” he said.
“But that’s a normal process for the AFL.”
The Power had activated their medical sub before the collision after Trent Dumont suffered a calf injury.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, who was a premiership player and assistant coach at Port, also strongly supported Fisher.
“I don’t think there is any sport in the world that cares for their players as well as the AFL,” he said.
“They would never endanger a player.
“They make a quick estimate and that’s what they do, that’s what they get paid for.
“You have to like that about our game – you wouldn’t see a collision like this anywhere else in the world.”
Six years ago, Port was fined $20,000, half of which was suspended, for violating concussion rules when Hamish Hartlett was allowed back on the ground too soon after a head knock.
But there were extenuating circumstances, with Port’s chief physician assisting another injured player at the time.
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