AFLPA to wrap arms around Aiden O’Driscoll as concerning trend emerges over player concussion reporting

Jake Santa Maria
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Aiden O'Driscoll will receive the full support from the AFLPA.
Aiden O'Driscoll will receive the full support from the AFLPA. Credit: JR SS/AAPIMAGE

AFL Players Association CEO Paul Marsh says the organisation will work closely with Aiden O’Driscoll over what’s next as alarming figures about concussion reporting have emerged.

O’Driscoll, the brother of Fremantle’s Nathan and Emma, was forced into medical retirement on Tuesday following a sickening collision in the pre-season.

The 18-year-old never played a game for the club at any level with his AFL dream ended just six months after being drafted at pick No.55.

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Marsh said the AFLPA will be working closely with O’Driscoll to help in his transition out of the footy space.

“We’ll work with Aiden and his family on what’s next both from a compensation perspective and a career perspective, where players can’t work cause of an issue like this we’re looking at ongoing payments to help them in their lives,” he said on SEN.

“There’s a lot going on in this space and one of the big outcomes from our CBA was a significantly enhanced injury and hardship fund for our past players and this is relevant to Aiden.

“The support will go for as long as it’s needed.”

It comes as troubling figures in the Association’s Impacts and Insights survey revealed 12 per cent of players in 2023 did not want to report symptoms, a figure that has been rising in recent years.

Marsh said a major reason behind the figure was players worrying about missing out on contract triggers and associated incentives.

“We’re concerned, the last couple of iterations of this report we have recognised there are a number of players who are not reporting concussion,” he said.

“It’s a discussion to pick up with the AFL and clubs that players maybe shouldn’t be penalised if they’re taking a cautious approach in regards to contracts.

“It’s a very serious injury and we’re trying to educate the players that this isn’t the right way to go about it.”

Geelong's Jeremy Cameron.
Jeremy Cameron will sit out Geelong's trip to Darwin to face Gold Coast after a delayed concussion. Credit: AAP

However, Marsh had no concerns over Jeremy Cameron after some questioned the HIA process after he copped a late in the contest against Port Adelaide but did not come off the ground.

“We’ve had discussions with both Geelong and the AFL and we’re satisfied the proper process was followed.

Marsh also provided an update on discussions with the AFL over its illicit drugs policy which came into the spotlight earlier this year after it was revealed players were told to withdraw from games to avoid testing positive.

“It’s being reviewed, and we’re working through it with the AFL,” he said.

“But I expect the major principles to remain the same, particularly around confidentiality.

“The two major points is we need to keep educating and changing behaviour and we’re looking at what more we can to help educate players.

“A lot of players who test positive it is a one-off issue and from our perspective, there is no way we’ll go to a name and shame system.”

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