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Australian school bans AFL over concerns for brain trauma

Australian school bans AFL over concerns for brain trauma

Queenwood has a long history with the sport but has decided to cut it over concerns for their students' health.

An Australian girls’ school has outlawed Australian rules football over concerns of the brain trauma risks the sport poses.

Queenwood, based in Sydney, has had a long history of playing the sport of AFL, however, last year decided not to take part in the Independent Girls’ competition.

The Australian reports that the school came to a decision based on evidence that proved the sport was too great a risk for a developing female’s brain.

In a statement, principal Elizabeth Stone said: “At Queenwood, we loved everything about AFL except for the risk of trauma to the brain.”

The school drew on advice from experts and after an extensive review found three decisive factors to pull the sport program.

The statement continued: “ The first was the mounting evidence that adolescents are at greater risk of brain injury than either children or adults. The second was the data showing that females experience concussion more frequently and more severely than males. This meant that our students, teenage girls, were in the highest risk category.

Lucy Rock / Alamy

“The third factor, which is not widely understood, is that the damage accumulates over time from any impact to the head – including sub-concussive impacts. It’s like clocking up charges on a credit card with an unknown but catastrophic credit limit.

Ms Stone explained that the school didn’t feel comfortable contributing to potential brain trauma later in their students' lives.

As such, they decided ‘with reluctance but real certainty’ that the decision to ban Aussie rules was the right move.

According to the publication, concussions were the second most common injury in the AFLW last season.

However, the AFL has maintained that they have had protocols in place to help minimise the impact of the sport on head trauma.

In a statement to The Australian, they said: “The health and safety of everyone playing Australian football is a key priority for the AFL and this has been a key factor in the growth of the game nationally.

“Australian football in girls’ schools in Sydney is thriving, having grown from six schools and 32 teams in 2018, to 12 schools and just over 100 girls teams now competing in various competitions.

“As part of support provided, the AFL delivers concussion management guidelines developed by medical professionals for all clubs and teams and we continue to take the necessary steps to improve player safety at all levels of the game.”

A senate inquiry into concussion protocols in Australian sport is currently taking place after former NRL great James Graham revealed the damage he has received as a result of rugby league.

SPORTbible reached out to the AFL for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Lucy Rock / Alamy.

Topics: Australia Afl, Australia