In an article for ESPN Australia, St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt has outlined what is involved in an AFL concussion and what players must go through to prove they are fit to play after being knocked out and it is not as simple one might assume.
Riewoldt sat out the second half of the Saints’ win over Collingwood on Saturday due to concussion.
When he went to the bench after being concussed, he entered what is called “the concussion protocol,” to determine whether he could continue playing. This process features an assessment tool known as SCAT3, which involves answering several basic orientation questions.
“We began by answering several orientation questions known as the Maddocks Score. These are questions that anyone not experiencing a concussive episode would be able to answer. Where are we? Who did we play last week? Who kicked the last goal? Which half are we in?,” Riewoldt wrote.
“Next, I was given a brief survey to answer based on how I was feeling at the time. Was I experiencing any dizziness? Pressure in the head? Fogginess? Feeling slowed down? Neck pain? And so on.
“Next, as a memory assessment, I was given five words to remember: candle, paper, sugar, sandwich and wagon.
“Next I was asked to say the months of the year in reverse order. Following that I was given a list of numbers and asked to repeat them in reverse order. 163 would be 361. 9845 … 61742 … 380475 …
“Following this, the doctor checked my balance. I had to stand on my non-dominant leg, close my eyes and balance for 20 seconds. This is hard for me to do normally, let alone if I happened to be concussed. That’s why the test is compared to a baseline of your own results.”
Riewoldt wrote that he performed quite well in each of the tests, however, doctors were still concerned about his condition and opted to rule him out of the remainder of the game.
“There was an element of the vision of the incident that our doctors weren’t comfortable with that led them to rule me out for the remainder of the match,” Riewoldt said.
Riewoldt went on to admit there may be other sports he would prefer his son to play.
“If James could make it in any sport in the world, maybe golf would be the best option; there’s fewer risks, he’d be able to travel the world and play until he’s 60 … not to mention the prize money on offer.”