Netball Australia follows AFL concussion protocols

Netball players outside of the elite men's and women's competitions will have to abide by a new 21-day protocol set by the sport's national governing body.

While the 12-day-minimum return-to-play protocol will remain for the Australian Diamonds and Super Netball players, Netball Australia announced on Friday that local competitions will be required to implement a 21-day protocol instead.

The move comes on the eve of the opening round of the Super Netball competition, and a month after the AFL implemented a protocol of the same time-frame for its local leagues.

Under the new community netball guidelines, the earliest a player can return after sustaining a concussion will be 21 days after their injury, provided they get medical clearances.

The guidelines apply to netball competitions at all ages, including Netball Australia pathway programs, adult and open competitions, and all junior competitions.

Netball Australia chief medical officer Laura Lallenec says the new protocols have been developed to protect players at all levels.

"The revised community guidelines mark a significant advance in Netball Australia's commitment to the health and wellbeing of all players who participate in netball, from grassroots through to the elite level," Dr Lallenec said.

"Our protocols are consistent with the impact and collision codes, and are developed in line with up-to-date medical and scientific evidence. 

"Our priority is ensuring concussion is managed according to best practice and to reduce the risks of concussion in netball."

Independent match-day doctors will be present at all Super Netball matches, in addition to the home team's doctors, and will be given access to tablets with match footage for video review of head impacts.

Players will be required to undergo a minimum 10-minute period for the doctor to complete a full clinical assessment of a suspected concussion.

There were three instances of concussion in the 2023 season.

Netball Australia developed the new protocol in alignment with the Australian Institute of Sport and with contributions from Super Netball teams and the Australian Netball Players Association.

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